A recent finding relating to lifestyle risk is the association between lack of sleep and Type 2 diabetes.
Humans, it seems, were designed to get around seven to eight hours sleep a night and they did, until Thomas Edison came along and invented the light bulb. Since then and with the advent of night-time entertainment and liberal amounts of money to spend, today, we are twice as likely to get less than seven hours a night than those living a generation ago. So what does this mean? According to a new study from the National Institutes of Health in the US, those who sleep less than six hours a night have almost a 400 per cent increased risk of diabetes compared to those who sleep from six to eight hours a night. There seems to be no effect of sleep longer than eight hours, although previous studies have also shown a mild increase in risk with this group. What is your risk? Try this Sleepiness Test. The reason for the increased effect is not known. It’s possible, of course, that short sleepers have bad lifestyles – poor diet, inactivity, smoking etc. - which may account for the effect. Yet even where these factors are accounted for statistically, the effect remains. Hormonal changes are the other possible causative factor and researchers are now focusing on this. Still, the words of Bon Jovi - “I’ll live while I’m alive and sleep while I’m dead” - could be ringing in scientists’ ears. Those who take up this mantra may actually be dead earlier than they think. For more information on healthy sleep, check out this Lifestyle Medicine article.