Staying up late and not getting six hours of sleep puts one at high risk of becoming a Type II diabetic, a disease once believed to be caused primarily by being overweight, prominent diabetes experts say.
The doctors said that diabetes is just one among a number of other major health complications that includes high blood sugar, high cholesterol, extra fat around the midsection, high blood pressure and excess amounts of fats in the blood—precisely all together known as metabolic syndrome.
The problem becomes a major one as 15-20 per cent of the Indian population in the 25-35 age group are among those that are increasingly coming the grip of diabetes.
"Sleeping late at nights could increase chances of getting Type II diabetes. Adults who get less than the recommended amount of sleep may not have adequate control of normal sugar levels," said Roshani Gadge, consultant diabetologist at Gadge’s Diabetes Centre.
Emphasising that several new researches have concluded that people who report five hours of sleep or less are more likely to have diabetes, compared to those who sleep for 7 to 8 hours per night, Gadge said that continuous lack of sleep deprivation is related to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, which increases the chance of developing Type-II diabetes.
"Eventually, sleeplessness causes insulin-producing cells to stop working properly, elevating the glucose levels and leaving one wide open to diabetes," said Gadge, who is considered a pioneer in diabetology in the southern part of India.
According to the WHO, India is home to 65 million diabetic patients, the number being second only to China. Analysis by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) recently revealed that change in lifestyle with lack of sleep were among the top reasons behind the occurrence of the disease.
Stating obesity as other result of lack of sleep, she explained: "Lack of sleep makes people physically and mentally tired, during when the body produces extra hormone that stimulates appetite, thereby piling up on more calories and carbohydrates to get a quick energy boost. These people are more likely to display impaired glucose tolerance."
The doctors have warned that it’s harder to recover from sleep deprivation if one continues to have lack of sleep.
“During such time the body interprets that sleep deficit as a constant stressor and the chance you’ll get diabetes grows,” she said.
Ashraf Ganie, a prominent endocrinologist and professor of AIIMS, said: "There are several reasons to diabetes, lack of sleep is one of them. It is predicted that by 2030 diabetes mellitus may afflict up to 79.4 million individuals in India vs 30.3 million in United States."
"Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in India and majority of cases are because of diabetes whose occurrence has several reasons now."
Ghani has also cautioned that people with problems of snoring are increasingly on the risk of diabetes.
"This is emerging as a bigger problem with the rising cases of sleep apnea among diabetics," he said.
Talking on the solutions, Behram Pardiwala, leading internal medicine expert said that proper sleep is necessary for the proper functioning of the body.
“Diabetes might have several reasons, but by having a proper sleep, one can at least avoid one of the prime reasons behind the occurrence. And as far as snoring problem is concerned, whose prime reason is overweight, it can simply be controlled by losing weight. It's just that one should know how to do it,” said the doctor, who is associated with Wockhardt hospital.