by BRENDA BORBA Staff Writer
Studies have shown that teens and adults that get less than five hours of sleep each night increase their risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. Whether it is long working hours or staying up every night to finish up some homework, teens and adults should be aware that their sleep schedule could affect their health significantly. “I think that students should make a point to sleep more and try to rest as much as possible to avoid risking the chance of diabetes,” says sophomore Manasa Dondapati. Lack of sleep has also been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, memory impairment, and a weakened immune system. Neuroscientist Orfeu Buxton of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital had his own little experiment. His team of 21 healthy volunteers spent six weeks strictly on Buxton’s planned diet, physical activity, and sleep. After three of those weeks, the volunteers were only allowed five-and-a-half or less hours of sleep. Buxton’s studies showed that blood sugar levels increased after meals. Sometimes the pancreas stopped secreting enough insulin. The volunteer’s metabolism slowed eight percent, meaning the volunteers would have gained 10 to 12 pounds a year. “I think that lack of sleep could be a large part of the risk of getting diabetes because after a night of not sleeping, well your body will look for energy, which is in food. If you consume a large amount of food with a lot of sugar your body won’t be able to break it down therefore increasing your sugar levels,” says sophomore Gabrielle Guaneri. Lack of a balanced diet and physical activity are big factors that lead to Type 2 diabetes, so it is important to make sure teens and adults get enough sleep, eat healthy, and stay active. It could make a big difference in the long run.