Lack of Sleep

by Ren Chats

Effects of Lack of Sleep on Child Health

Effects of Lack of Sleep on Child Health

In a recent study by Karen A. Matthews et al, lack of sleep in healthy teenagers has been correlated to increased risk of developing type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetes during childhood was well known to be juvenile diabetes (type 1); insulin dependent where the insulin producing cells are destroyed by autoimmune mechanism. The tendency to develop type 2 diabetes in childhood is a recent phenomenon; noticed only over last 20 years and has perplexed the medical fraternity.

Results of the study “Sleep Duration and Insulin Resistance in Healthy Black and White Adolescents” show that insulin resistance among healthy children increases with lack of sleep, predisposing them to type 2 diabetes in future. The average hours of sleep among high school students were found to be only 6.4 hours/night, whereas the recommendation is of 9 hours per night.

This study from the University of Pittsburgh, conducted by Karen A. Matthews et al, is a cross sectional community based study on 245 healthy school children between 14 and 19 years of age.

The correlation of increased insulin resistance to lack of sleep persisted even after adjusting for age, race, gender, body mass index, and waist circumference. This implies that the insulin resistance secondary to lack of sleep is not obesity dependent. Whereas, lack of sleep itself is known to cause excessive weight gain.

Lack of sleep disturbs circadian control of appetite and hormones system through more than one pathway. Resultant hormonal dysfunction and metabolic derangement leads to -

Obesity; especially around the waist.

• Enhanced cardiac sympathetic activity: Increased activity of heart.

• Feeling of fatigue and daytime drowsiness.

• Brief mental lapses.

• Mood fluctuations.

• Inability to concentrate and hold attention span.
Read more under Teenage Depression.


Karen A. Matthews et al. “Sleep Duration and Insulin Resistance in Healthy Black and White Adolescents” Sleep 2012; 35(10):1353-1358

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