Researchers also found that those who sleep less during the week days and attempt to recover by sleeping longer during the weekend are in fact disrupting their metabolism, which leads to an elevated risk of developing illnesses such as type 2 diabetes.
Previous studies showed that sleeping less than we should leads to diabetes and obesity, said Shahrad Taheri, one of the authors of the new study and a professor at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha. The new study reveals that it takes as little as 30 minutes less sleep daily to increase the risk of obesity and insulin resistance, a consequence of obesity.
The study Taheri conducted adds to previous knowledge about the detrimental effects of sleep, and enforcing the idea that lack of sleep is additive, leading to serious metabolic consequences.
In the study, Taheri and the team recruited 522 people who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes recent to the study in the Early Activity in Diabetes trial.
The participants had to complete seven-day sleep diaries in which they had to calculate their sleep debt during the weekdays.
After the experiment, the researchers found that those who slept less on weekday had a 72% higher risk of obesity compared to those who had no sleep debt during weekdays.
After six months of trial, the study revealed that weekday sleep debt was associated with both obesity and insulin resistance.
After 12 months of studies, the researchers found that sleeping 30 minutes less every day during the week increased the risk of becoming obese by 17%. Also, sleep debt had a serious impact on insulin resistance, increasing the risk by 39%.
The research was presented at the annual Endocrine Society meeting in San Diego.