A new study from Minnesota University of Health and Science has found that people who sleep less often and stay up late tend to have lower blood pressure, blood glucose levels and metabolic syndrome markers than those who get more time to sleep.
The study found that among people who said they were in the habit of going to bed at 10 p.m. or later, those who slept less tended to have a higher body mass index, higher fasting insulin and lower blood glucose.
Researchers also found that those who said their nights were spent doing homework, reading a book, watching TV, or reading a blog or magazine were less likely to have metabolic syndrome, or elevated blood pressure and glucose levels, than those in the same situation who slept later and later at night.
In the past, researchers have found that sleepiness is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota looked at data from more than 5,000 adults between the ages of 45 and 79, as well as more than 13,000 older adults who were part of the Minnesota Twin Cities Health Data Collection.
They then looked at the relationship between sleep and metabolic markers, which included fasting insulin, fasting blood glucose, and metabolic rates.
They found that being in the middle of the night was associated with a decrease in fasting insulin levels, while people who spent more time in bed tended to be less likely than those sleeping later and earlier to have insulin levels that were elevated.
For example, those sleeping late at night were more likely to be obese, have a high BMI, and have higher triglycerides than those staying up later and late at bedtime.
In addition, those sleep-deprived individuals were more prone to type 2 diabetes.
“Being late at sleep was associated not only with higher fasting blood sugar, but also elevated insulin and triglycerides,” the researchers said.
“Those with metabolic syndrome were more at risk of type 2 and type 1 diabetes, which increases their risk of complications.”
The researchers also found the association between sleeping late and metabolic risk was strongest among people with hypertension, and those with type 2 or type 1.
“The associations were stronger for people with type 1 hypertension and higher triglyceride levels,” the study said.
While some research has linked late sleep to higher levels of stress, the new research found it did not have that same effect.
“Sleep was not associated with stress in our study,” the scientists wrote.
“We found no significant associations with stress among people in either the middle or late sleep condition.
In fact, people who reported more sleep during the day had lower levels of chronic stress, including anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance.
The researchers noted that it is not clear whether sleepiness leads to an increased risk of chronic disease.
However, they suggested that early-night snoozing could reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.”
We do not know whether people who snooze are more likely or less likely or have a negative association with chronic disease,” they wrote.”
This is an important finding as it is consistent with the growing evidence that chronic sleepiness may contribute to the development of metabolic disease.
“The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.