Importance of Sleep for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease


Our bodies need sleep.  The significance of proper amounts of sleep has already been demonstrated on obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure, and mental health conditions like depression.  There are now reports of the importance of sleep for diabetes in addition to cardiovascular health.

According to a long-term study utilizing thousands of patients by the Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases in Netherlands, we can now confidently say that getting 7 or more hours of sleep per night significantly improves cardiovascular health.  Not smoking, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and moderate amounts of alcohol consumption, when practiced together, minimize the risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD ) by up to 57 – 67%.  When combined with a proper sleep schedule, this protective effect lowers CVD risk by 65 – 83%.

Another study at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) has demonstrated that proper sleep patterns benefit men with Type 2 Diabetes by improving their insulin sensitivity.  Approximately 90% of all diabetes sufferers (312 million people worldwide), have Type 2 Diabetes, a condition characterized by the body’s inefficient use of insulin and for which there is still no clear cause.  The immune effects of sufficient sleep may, in part, be attributed to melatonin, a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain at night.  Individuals who suffer from insomnia or have abnormal sleep patterns have disrupted melatonin levels.  A study at the Kidney Clinical Research Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston showed that patients with less melatonin have a doubled risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.  These findings reinforce the importance of a good night’s sleep on health, in particular the importance of sleep for diabetes prevention.

Ciaran, J. et al. Melatonin secretion and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. JAMA 309(13): 1388 – 1396, published online 03 April 2013; DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.2710Hoevenaar-Blom M, Spijkerman AMW, Kromhout D,

Verschuren WMM. Sufficient sleep duration contributes to lower cardiovascular disease risk in addition to four traditional lifestyle factors: the MORGEN study. Eur J Prevent Cardiol 2013; DOI: 10.1177/2047487313493057.

Killick, R. et al. The effects of ‘catch-up’ sleep on insulin sensitivity in men with lifestyle-driven, chronic, intermittent sleep restriction. Presented at ENDO 2013, 15-18 June, San Francisco



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