WASHINGTON — Children who get more sleep are at lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in a US journal Tuesday.
For adults, getting too much or not enough sleep both have been linked with adiposity and type 2 diabetes. In children, more sleep has been tied to lower levels of obesity, but research about type 2 diabetes risk factors has been scarce, according to The Journal of Pediatrics.
To explore possible connections, researchers analyzed the body measurements, blood sample results and questionnaire data from 4,525 children of multi-ethnic descent, aged 9 to 10 years, in England.
They found children who slept longer had lower body weight and lower levels of fat mass.
Sleep duration was “also inversely related to insulin, insulin resistance and blood glucose,” they said.
“These findings suggest increasing sleep duration could offer a simple approach to reducing levels of body fat and type 2 diabetes risk from early life,” Prof. Christopher Owen, who led the research at St. George’s, University of London, said in a statement.
“Potential benefits associated with increased sleep in childhood may have implications for health in adulthood,” Owen said.
The researchers did not find an association between sleep duration and cardiovascular risk factors, including blood lipids and blood pressure.
This lack suggests “that sleep duration does not alter other cardiovascular risk in early life, other than by increased obesity and metabolic risks which, if sustained or accentuated, take time to accelerate cardiovascular risks”, the researchers wrote.