Sleep: Two-thirds of Britons not getting enough sleep are at increased risk of diabetes

Sleep deprivation: Doctor gives tips for a good night’s sleep

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According to research, the average UK adults gets just six hours of sleep per night, with 68 percent of respondents failing to get the recommended seven hours of shuteye. The survey, conducted by healthcare provider Benenden Health, involved 2,000 UK adults. For 51 percent of respondents, the lack of sleep was attributed to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Meanwhile, 27 percent reported “loud nosies” for their lack of adequate sleep, and 24 percent stated they simply go to bed “too late”.

How much sleep the average person gets in each area:

  • North East – 6.39 hours
  • Scotland – 6.38 hours
  • East Midlands – 6.35 hours
  • South East – 6.35 hours
  • South West – 6.32 hours
  • North West – 6.3 hours
  • Yorkshire and The Humber – 6.25 hours
  • West Midlands – 6.22 hours
  • East of England – 6.19 hours
  • Northern Ireland – 6.13 hours
  • Wales – 6.13 hours
  • Greater London – 5.89 hours.

The UK’s average hours of sleep per night is 6.24, meaning lots of people are at risk of elevated blood sugar.

Matron at Benenden Health, Cheryl Lythgoe, said: “Whilst individuals may feel like they can operate off the bare minimum amount of sleep, our research has highlighted an epidemic of insufficient sleep across the UK.”

Doctor Abhinav Singh verified that sleep issues “appear to play a role in diabetes”.

Getting poor sleep has been linked to high blood sugar levels in people who have pre-diabetes.

Research suggests that sleep restriction may affect blood sugar levels due to its effect on insulin, cortisol, and oxidative stress.

Sleep deprivation also raises the risk of developing insulin resistance, Doctor Singh confirmed.

A lack of sleep also raises levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, that can lead to overeating.

At the same time, a lack of sleep also suppresses the hormone leptin, which would otherwise make you feel full.

By eating too much, you’re at risk of obesity, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes – in addition to other health conditions.

Obesity is linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and metabolic syndrome, the NHS added.

How to get better and longer sleep

Matron Cheryl Lythgoe added: “By taking small steps… we can sleep better as a nation and improve our health as a result.”

Lythgoe recommended sticking to a set bedtime, preparing a comfortable sleeping environment, and “winding down appropriately in the lead-up to bedtime”.

How much sleep do we need?

The Sleep Foundation pointed out that people require between seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

Doctor Singh verified that “sleep is an essential function” that should leave you feeling refreshed and alert when you wake up in the mornings.

The warning signs of type 2 diabetes

When blood sugar levels become elevated, the bodily signs can be ever so slight.

As blood sugar levels remain high, you may start to notice that you need to urinate more often – especially during the night – and you may feel tired.

The NHS highlighted the symptoms of type 2 diabetes:

  • Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision.

If you suspect you are experiencing signs of diabetes, do discuss your concerns to your doctor.

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