(NaturalNews) Are you one of those who skim on sleep regularly? Then here's a good reason to get a full night's sleep starting today: According to a recent study by the University of Warwick, people who sleep fewer than six hours per night have a three-fold risk of developing a condition that could progress to type II diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.
Analyzing six years' worth of data from 1,455 participants, researchers found that decreased sleep duration is associated with a heightened risk of incident-impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG) -- a pre-diabetic condition characterized by blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but yet not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
"We found that short sleep, less than six hours, was associated with a significant, three-fold increased likelihood of developing IFG, compared to people who got an average of six to eight hours sleep a night," said Dr Saverio Stranges, lead author of this study.
The research used data taken from the Western New York Health Study. All participants were between 35 and 79 years of age and had completed a clinical examination as well as surveys which included questions about their general health and sleeping patterns.
According to the American Diabetes Association, about 11 percent of people with IFG developed type 2 diabetes each year during the average three years of follow-up. Pre-diabetic patients are also 1.5 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to those with normal blood glucose levels.
How does sleep deprivation lead to diabetes and heart disease? The reason is unclear but previous studies suggested that it may have something to do with a decrease in glucose tolerance and an increase in levels of cortisol, a type of stress hormone, when one does not get enough sleep.
In the past, studies have largely focused on the relationship between sleep duration and diabetes. But this is believed to be the first time that the link between sleep duration and pre-diabetes has been investigated. This research has been published in the Annals of Epidemiology journal.
Results from this study add to the growing list of potential health problems that have been associated with sleep deprivation. These include obesity, impaired immune system, hypertension and higher mortality rate.