A bad night’s sleep affects glucose control the next morning

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Going to bed later than usual and having a bad night’s sleep are both linked to a poor glycemic response to breakfast the next morning, according to a new study published online in Diabetologia.

Diet and exercise are well-established components of a healthy lifestyle, but the role of sleep in blood glucose control among otherwise healthy people has been little studied, researchers explained.

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For the study, researchers observed 953 adults who consumed standardized meals over the course of two weeks in a clinical setting and at home.

“Our data suggest that sleep duration, efficiency, and midpoint are important determinants of postprandial glycemic control at a population level,” Neil Tsereteli, MD, Lund University Diabetes Centre, said.

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Although there was no significant relationship between sleep duration and post-meal glycemic response, the researchers discovered that when the nutritional content of breakfast was taken into account, there was a significant interaction.

Longer sleep periods were linked to lower blood glucose levels after high-carbohydrate and high-fat breakfasts, indicating better blood glucose control.

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Researchers also discovered a link between sleep efficiency (the ratio of time spent sleeping to total length of sleep period) and glycemic control. When a participant slept more efficiently than usual, their postprandial blood glucose level was also lower.

“This effect was largely driven by sleep onset (going to bed later) rather than sleep offset (waking up later),” Tsereteli and other researchers noted.

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