Sleep duration, either too much or too little may be affected by inflammation as shown in the U.S. study that included 614 participants. In the past, studies had linked both long and short duration with a higher risk for diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity and death.
The same thing has been noted linking chronic elevations in inflammation-regulating cytokines with an increased risk of health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Thus the researchers found the association between inflammation and sleep duration.
Participants in this particular study were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their sleep habits. To do this, the participants were asked to spend one night in a sleep lab. The mean sleep duration calculated in the sleep lab was 6.2 hours while the mean sleep duration reported by the participants was 7.6 hours.
Every additional hour of sleep duration that was reported by the participants was associated with a 7% increase in levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) as well as an 8 percent increase in levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). Both of these are inflammation-regulating cytokines.
As for every additional hour of sleep reduction that was verified in the sleep lab, it was found to be associated with an 8% increase in tumor necrosis factor. The tumor necrosis factor is another inflammation-regulating cytokine which affirms the previous finding.
They also found that those who had longer sleep duration were considerably younger and whereas the short sleep duration was linked with an increased incidence of hypertension, diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea. This fact alone will encourage people to have longer sleep duration.
Assistant professor of medicine, Dr. Sanjay R. Patel who was also the lead author of the study said that the most surprising finding was that there were different relationships that were based on how sleep was measured. Let us see how this will affect the way it was covered.
Patel and associates said the different patterns of association with cytokine levels may indicate that the sleep duration reported seems to show chronic (long term) sleep while sleep duration reported in the lab show sleep pattern were acute or short term.
There is also concern that the two ways of measuring the duration of sleep may be affected in different ways by some underlying factors like mood or stress, sleep habits. These of course will have a direct effect on the cytokine levels. There is more information on sleep and diabetes in this article.
Another study reported that those who do not have enough sleep and those who have too much sleep may become at high risk for diabetes and other diseases. This is quite a surprise to me as I thought people have different needs for sleep.
Some can get by with five hours while others need more. So does this mean those who require only five hours of sleep are at risk to develop those conditions? This of course does not clarify very well these relationships as it is said at the end that too much sleep will also increase the risk for diabetes. Thus ends my research on sleep duration.