One aspect of lifestyle that is often overlooked is time spent sleeping. Getting adequate sleep is often sacrificed due to the demands of job and family. In the Sleep Heart Health Study over 1400 men and women were surveyed about their sleep habits and its relationship to diabetes and prediabetes. It was found that sleeping less than 6 hours per night was associated with increased risk of having diabetes. Interestingly, in those sleeping more than 9 hours per night there was an increased risk of diabetes and prediabetes. The authors of the study recommend trying to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night to minimize the chances of developing blood sugar problems.
Maintaining ideal body weight with diet and exercise is also crucial for avoiding diabetes and prediabetes. In overweight adults for each 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) gained per year the risk of developing diabetes increases about 50% over the next ten years. By losing 2.2 pounds per year the risk of developing diabetes is reduced about 33% for the next 10 years (J Epidemiol Community Health. 2000; 54(8):596-602).
Speak to your healthcare professional to find out if you are at risk for developing diabetes and to learn ways you can avoid it.
Gary Pepper M.D.
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