A new study found that losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep per day affects the body's weight and increases one's risk of diabetes.
Most people tend to sleep less during weekdays and pay their sleep debt over the weekend. This habit, however, has long-term consequences on weight gain and overall health.
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, in Doha, analyzed 522 diabetes patients for the study. The participants were divided into three groups depending on the treatment: usual care, physical activity, or diet. They were also asked to track their sleep time for a week to measure their sleep debt. The researchers also recorded the participants' body mass index (BMI), waistlines, and blood sugar.
The findings showed that those who had sleep debts were 72 percent more likely to be obese than those who don't have any sleep debt. Just as small as 30 minutes of sleep debt also increases one's risk of obesity by 17 percent and diabetes by 39 percent in a year.
"While previous studies have shown that short sleep duration is associated with obesity and diabetes, we found that as little as 30 minutes a day sleep debt can have significant effects on obesity and insulin resistance at follow-up," said lead study author Professor Shahrad Taheri,, professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, in Doha, in a press release.
The researchers recommend to those who habitually incur sleep debt to start getting the right amount of sleep per day before they experience the long-term consequences.
The study was presented on March 5 at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego.