In a new study from University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers find that people with prediabetes who go to bed later, eat meals later and are more active and alert later in the day—have higher BMI than people with prediabetes who are early birds.
The higher BMI among people who are night owls is related to their lack of sufficient sleep,
Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be Type 2 diabetes.
Without changes in diet and exercise, patients with prediabetes have a very high risk of having type 2 diabetes.
Previous research has shown that lack of sleep is linked to a higher risk for many health conditions, including obesity and diabetes.
Evening preference has also been linked to higher body weight and higher risk for diabetes.
In the current study, the team examined the link between morning/evening preference and BMI among people with prediabetes.
BMI is a measure of body fat in relation to height and weight.
A total of 2,133 participants with prediabetes enrolled in the study. Their morning/evening preference was assessed through a questionnaire.
People who scored high in “morningness” preferred to wake up earlier, have activities earlier, and felt more alert earlier in the day compared with those who scored high on “eveningness.”
The team also examined the sleep duration, sleep timing, and social jet lag of the people.
Social jet lag reflects a shift in sleep timing between weekdays and weekends.
Greater social jetlag (e.g., larger shift in sleep timing) is linked to higher BMI in some populations.
The average age of the participants was 64 years old, and the average BMI was 25.8. Average sleep duration was about seven hours per night.
The team found that in people younger than 60 years of age, higher levels of social jet lag were linked to a higher BMI.
Among participants older than 60 years old, those with more evening preference had higher BMIs. This effect was partly due to having insufficient sleep but not social jet lag.
Evening preference was directly associated with higher BMI in this group.
The researchers suggest that timing and duration of sleep can be changed to get a healthy lifestyle.
People can have more regular bedtimes and aim to have more sleep, which may help reduce BMI and the risk of development of diabetes
The research was led by Dr. Sirimon Reutrakul, associate professor of endocrinology.
The findings are published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.
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Source: Frontiers in Endocrinology.