Sleep duration is inversely associated with type 2 diabetes risk factors in children, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Alicja R Rudnicka, PhD, from the Population Health Research Institute at St. George’s in London, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of 4525 multiethnic UK children aged 9 to 10 years. Sleep time was calculated from self-reported usual time of going to bed and awakening on an average school day. Blood samples taken provided levels of serum lipids and insulin, plasma glucose, and HbA1c. Physical measures included height, weight, bioimpedance, and blood pressure.

On average, children slept 10.5 hours per night. Sleep duration for 1 hour longer was associated with 0.19 lower BMI, 0.03 kg/m5 lower fat mass, 2.9% lower homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance, and 0.24% lower fasting glucose. No association was observed with HbA1c or cardiovascular risk. Associations with insulin and glucose remained after an additional adjustment for adiposity markers.

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“The finding of an inverse association between sleep duration and T2D risk markers in childhood is novel,” the authors concluded. “Intervention studies are needed to establish the causality of these associations, which could provide a simple strategy for early T2D prevention.”

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  1. Rudnicka AR, Nightingale CM, Donin AS, et al. Sleep duration and risk of type 2 diabetes. Pediatrics. 2017 Aug 15. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-0338