Sleeping either fewer or more hours than average may increase a man’s risk of developing diabetes, according to a new study, which is grabbing headlines today. According to the Endocrine Society’s Endocrine Facts and Figures Report, in the last 5 decades, the average sleep duration for individuals has decreased by 1.5 to 2 hours, and this correlates to a doubling of prevalence of diabetes in the same time period.

For men, sleeping too much or too little was related to lower responsiveness of the cells to insulin, which hampers glucose uptake and increases the risk of developing diabetes. Interestingly, no such association was observed for women subjects, according to the reportMen who slept the least and the most in this study were found to be more likely to have an impaired ability to process sugar compared to those men who slept an average amount, i.e about seven hours. Those who got less or more than seven hours of sleep had higher blood sugar levels than men who got the average amount of sleep.

“Even when you are healthy, sleeping too much or too little can have detrimental effects on your health,” senior author of the study, Femke Rutters is quoted as saying. “This research shows how important sleep is to a key aspect of health – glucose metabolism.”

So if sleep imbalance is the issue, then the healthier solution comes from one of two ways – diet and fitness. While sleeping pills might be the first thought that comes to your mind, it’s not necessary, if one controls their diet, manages meal-times and has a regular fitness routine.

Endorphin rush
Just 20 minutes of running, for example, fills you up with endorphins that not only help you improve your mood but also balance out the hormonal side-effects of stress which causes sleep disruptions. An unsettled mind is less likely to get adequate sleep in the amount of time that’s considered ideal for sleep i.e around 7 hours.

Use the energy
Sometimes, our mind is tired but our body has spare fuel that it does not want to let go of. This can be used wisely with a nightly workout. Think about doing a few sets of pushups, crunches and squats which would use this spare energy and also make you fitter. Plus working out and recovering from it, will definitely make you tired enough to sleep.

Plan your day ahead
Work keeping you up at night? Cut down on night-time emailing and presentations by using your time in the office wisely. This can be achieved by setting your daily agenda with a morning brisk walk or a jog. Not only does it give you that awesome workout high right in the beginning, but it gives you time to introspect and organise your day. Use a daily run to plan your day ahead by mentally slotting in work agenda for the next 8-10 hours. This would allow you to get home to actually spend quality time there, instead of simply catching up on work.

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