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Chronic sleep deficiency increases diabetes risk in postmenopausal women, explains expert

Postmenopausal women should understand the criticality of the risk associated with sleep deprivation and consult experts timely to prevent and minimise diabetes and other health risks.

Written By : Health Desk Edited By : Kristina Das
New Delhi
Published on: April 08, 2024 16:45 IST
sleep deficiency increases diabetes risk
Image Source : FREEPIK The expert explained how sleep deficiency increases diabetes risk in postmenopausal women.

Sleep is an essential component of human health, regulating a variety of physiological processes critical to general well-being. Chronic sleep deficit, defined as insufficient duration or poor quality sleep over time, has arisen as a major public health concern around the world. 

Sleep regulates a variety of metabolic functions, including glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and hunger regulation. Chronic sleep deprivation affects these processes, resulting in poor glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and dysregulated hunger hormones, which ultimately predispose people to diabetes.

Dr Sharwari D Dua, Consultant Internal Medicine, Diabetology & Endocrinology, Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital, Delhi, postmenopausal women are particularly prone to both sleep disruptions and diabetes risk. Menopause is frequently accompanied by major hormonal changes, including decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone, which can alter sleep patterns and increase sleep disorders like insomnia. Furthermore, postmenopausal women are more likely to gain weight and develop abdominal obesity, both of which are significant risk factors for diabetes.

Chronic inadequate sleep can promote insulin resistance in normally healthy women, with more pronounced consequences in postmenopausal women. One should understand the criticality of getting enough sleep in lowering the chance of developing type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body fails to properly use critical insulin, and hormones, to maintain blood sugar levels. 

Some of the underlying risks associated with chronic sleep deficiency and increased diabetes risk in postmenopausal women.

  1. Natural Sleep Cycle Disruption: Sleep deprivation alters the body's internal timer, resulting in dysregulation of the circadian or natural cycles that regulate glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
  2. Activation of Stress: Sleep deprivation causes the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and catecholamines, which promote insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.
  3. Irregular Appetite: Sleep deprivation alters the balance of appetite-regulating hormones, increasing hunger and encouraging the ingestion of high-calorie, carbohydrate-rich foods, which can contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance.

Chronic sleep deprivation is a preventable risk factor for diabetes in postmenopausal women, exhibiting its effects via a variety of physiologic routes. One should be cautious in identifying and treating sleep problems to reduce diabetes risk and enhance overall health. 

ALSO READ: What are sleep jerks? Expert explains why you twitch in your sleep

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