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Sleep deprivation: children at risk for diabetes

March 26, 2018

Children who sleep poorly are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. According to numerous US studies conducted to control and prevent this disease, the rate of new type 2 diabetes diagnosed in children has risen by 1.8% each year over the last decade. This figure, according to researchers, is also closely related to the lack of the right hours of rest for adolescents. We talk about this issue with Dr. Vincenzo Tullo, neurologist specialist and headache clinic manager at Humanitas.


The Cleveland Clinic researchers’ study


Children who sleep longer have no weight problems and lower insulin and blood sugar levels, so they have a lower risk of developing a disease such as diabetes. The study considered a group of 4,525 children aged 9-10 years, relating sleep hours to blood insulin, cholesterol and glucose levels. Researchers found that most children who slept an average of 10 hours every night had a lower chance of falling ill and that sleep for children is important as a regulator of appetite, as well as growth and proper development. In addition, various behavioral and metabolic diseases can be aggravated by inadequate or poor sleep.


School performance also decreases


Without resting an adequate number of hours, children also face difficulty in school and sports. Sleep is therefore one of the key factors in growth: for this reason, children should be kept away from TV and mobile screens before falling asleep and they should rest in suitable, quiet rooms. The quality of rest is no less important than the number of hours that children spend in bed.


The importance of lifestyle change


“The lack of routine, little sleep and skipping meals, leads to negatively influence the weight of children who tend to eat more, often become obese and prefer calorie foods such as snacks, sweets and fast food – added Dr. Tullo. Sleeping little, in fact reduces the circulating level of a hormone leptin that provides us with a sense of satiety. We need to intervene in children’s lifestyles from the early years of life, avoiding late bedtime, ensuring that they sleep enough and eat healthy food without skipping meals, thus significantly reducing the risk of them becoming obese and developing metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

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