Tags: Diabetes | diabetes | exposure | light | sleeping | risk | insulin

Exposure to Light While Sleeping May Increase Diabetes Risk: Study

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By    |   Tuesday, 05 June 2018 05:51 PM

If you are usually exposed to light overnight while you're sleeping, you might want to darken your room. Exposure to light could cause long-term effects on your metabolic function that could lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that exposure to light raises risk factors that lead to insulin resistance, a factor in developing Type 2 diabetes. In cases of insulin resistance, although the pancreas still produces insulin, the body becomes resistant to its effects. To cope, the pancreas tries to increase its production of insulin, but when it can't meet the body's demand, blood sugar rises resulting in Type 2 diabetes.

"Our preliminary findings show that a single night of light exposure during sleep acutely impacts measures of insulin resistance," said lead author Ivy Cheung Mason, Ph.D. "Light exposure overnight during sleep has been shown to disrupt sleep, but these data indicate that it may also have the potential to influence metabolism."

Researchers randomized 20 healthy adults ages 18 to 40 into two groups — Dark-Dark (DD) or Dark-Light (DL). The groups were run in parallel for a stay of three days and two nights.

Each night, participants had eight hours of sleep opportunity starting at their usual bedtime, which was determined by actigraphy (non-invasively monitoring sleep and activity cycles) combined with sleep diaries.

During the test, the DL group slept in the dark on night one, and in a room with an overhead light on during night two. The DD group slept in the dark on both nights.

Participants underwent hourly blood sampling for melatonin; and polysomnography, a diagnostic tool used in sleep medicine, was used overnight. On both mornings, each group also underwent oral glucose tolerance tests.

Changes from Day/Night 1 to Day/Night 2 were examined between DD and DL groups, and blood tests found that changes in insulin resistance were significantly higher in the DL group — the group that had been subjected to light on the second night — compared to the group that slept in the dark.

In short, the study found that a single night of light exposure during sleep acutely affects the degree of insulin resistance.

"These results are important given the increasingly widespread use of artificial light exposure, particularly at night," said Mason. "The effect we see is acute; more research is needed to determine if chronic overnight light exposure during sleep has long-term cumulative effects on metabolic function."

The study was published in an online supplement of the journal Sleep.

According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2015, 84.1 million Americans aged 18 and older have prediabetes. Many of them will progress to full-blown Type 2 diabetes. More than 30.3 million Americans — 9.4 percent of the population — have diabetes, and it's the seventh leading cause of death. More than a quarter of Americans age 65 and older have the condition.

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If you are usually exposed to light overnight while you're sleeping, you might want to darken your room. Exposure to light could cause long-term effects on your metabolic function that could lead to Type 2 diabetes.Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of...
diabetes, exposure, light, sleeping, risk, insulin, resistance
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2018-51-05
Tuesday, 05 June 2018 05:51 PM
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