A good night's sleep keeps blood pressure in check, sharpens memory, and tames inflammation. Now scientists are suggesting that getting enough Zs may help protect against diabetes. A study published in the journal Sleep showed that adults who slept five or fewer hours a night were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who snoozed for seven hours.
Experimental research has shown that skimping on sleep might impair the body's ability to manage blood sugar. Sleep deprivation's potential to raise body weight probably impacts diabetes incidence, as well, notes lead study author James Gangwisch, Ph.D. Late-night munchies may also factor into diabetes risk, adds Larry Deeb, M.D, past president of the American Diabetes Association. "There's good evidence that our bodies become less efficient at processing blood sugar as the day wears on, so staying up and snacking could certainly be part of the problem," he warns.