Newswise — LOS ANGELES, CA: New research finds that one night of sleep deprivation and six months on a high-fat diet could both impair insulin sensitivity to a similar degree, demonstrating the importance of a good night’s sleep on health. This study, conducted by Josiane Broussard, PhD, and colleagues from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, used a canine model to examine whether sleep deprivation and a high-fat diet affect insulin sensitivity in similar ways. The findings will be presented during a poster presentation on Thursday, Nov. 5, at The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at ObesityWeekSM 2015 in Los Angeles, CA.

When the body becomes less sensitive to insulin (i.e., “insulin resistant”), it needs to produce more insulin to keep blood sugar stable. This may eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes, a disease where the body’s insulin response doesn’t work properly and there is too much sugar in the blood. Diabetes is associated with a number of serious complications, including heart disease. Individuals with obesity are more likely to develop insulin resistance and subsequently, diabetes.

“Research has shown that sleep deficiency and a high-fat diet both lead to impaired insulin sensitivity, but it was previously unknown which leads to more severe insulin resistance,” said Dr. Broussard. “Our study suggests that one night of total sleep deprivation may be as detrimental to insulin sensitivity as six months on a high-fat diet. This research demonstrates the importance of adequate sleep in maintaining blood sugar levels and reducing risk for metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes.”

To conduct the study, the researchers measured insulin sensitivity in eight male dogs before and after diet-induced obesity. Prior to the high-fat feeding, researchers used an IV glucose tolerance test to measure insulin sensitivity in dogs that had one night of sleep deprivation, and compared results to dogs that had a normal night’s sleep. The dogs were then fed a high-fat diet for six months, at which point they were tested again. Prior to the high-fat diet, one night of sleep deprivation reduced insulin sensitivity by 33%; this reduction was similar to the reduction caused by a high-fat diet alone (21%). Once the dogs had impaired insulin sensitivity from the high-fat diet, one night of sleep deprivation did not further impair the insulin sensitivity.

“One night of sleep deprivation and six months of a high-fat diet both reduced insulin sensitivity by a similar degree in canines; however, there was no additive effect of sleep loss and high-fat diet,” continued Dr. Broussard. “This may suggest a similar mechanism by which both insufficient sleep and a high-fat diet induce insulin resistance. It could also mean that after high-fat feeding, insulin sensitivity cannot be reduced further by sleep loss.”

In addition to impaired insulin sensitivity, sleep deprivation can lead to increased food intake and overall increased risk for metabolic diseases.

“It is critical for health practitioners to emphasize the importance of sleep to their patients,” said Caroline M. Apovian, MD, FACP, FACN, a Fellow and spokesperson for The Obesity Society. “Many patients understand the importance of a balanced diet, but they might not have a clear idea of how critical sleep is to maintaining equilibrium in the body.”

According to Dr. Broussard, future research should examine the pathways that may account for the interactions between sleep and diet and their relationship to insulin sensitivity. It will also be important to determine whether insulin sensitivity is improved after recovery sleep, which is beginning to be addressed in clinical studies.

These types of basic science studies and canine models are critical in helping to understand the causes and complications of obesity and to identify mechanisms that lead to its prevention or cure.

The full abstract is available below.

AuthorJosiane Broussard, PhD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

AbstractSleep deprivation and fat feeding may reduce insulin action by similar mechanistic pathways

BackgroundSleep deficiency leads to impaired insulin sensitivity. Similarly, a long term high fat diet leading to increase adiposity causes insulin resistance. To address the question of whether these two causes of insulin resistance are due similar mechanisms, we examined the impact of sleep deprivation in a canine model before and after the development of diet-induced obesity. MethodsAt baseline and after 6 months of a high fat diet, 8 male dogs underwent 2 sleep conditions—1 night of habitual sleep and 1 night of sleep deprivation. Each sleep condition was followed by an IV glucose tolerance test to assess insulin action and beta-cell response.

ResultsPrior to the high fat diet, 1 night of sleep deprivation significantly reduced insulin sensitivity [5.0(0.5) v 3.1(0.2) (mU/l)^-1.min^-1; p<0.05]. This reduction was similar to that caused by a high fat diet alone [5.0(0.5) v 3.7(0.5) (mU/l)^-1.min^-1; p<0.05]. Sleep deprivation after the high fat diet did not further reduce insulin sensitivity [3.7(0.5) v 3.3(0.4) (mU/l)^-1.min^-1; p=ns].

ConclusionSleep deprivation alone was associated with a 33% decrease in insulin sensitivity with no compensatory insulin response. Fat feeding alone for 6 months similarly reduced insulin sensitivity by 21%, which was not significantly reduced further by 1 night of sleep deprivation. This study suggests that because sleep loss and high fat diet are not additive in their impairment of insulin sensitivity, they may act by similar mechanisms. Future studies are necessary to determine the pathways that may account for the interactions between sleep and diet and their relationship to insulin resistance.

CitationBroussard J. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Poster abstract presentation at: The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at ObesityWeekSM 2015; November 2-6, 2015; Los Angeles, CA.

This press release can be published in full or in part with attribution to The Obesity Society.

About The Obesity SocietyThe Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information visit: Connect with us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Find TOS disclosures here.

About ObesityWeek 2015ObesityWeek is the premier, international event focused on the basic science, clinical application, prevention and treatment of obesity. TOS and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) host the world’s pre-eminent conference on obesity, ObesityWeek 2015, Nov. 2-6, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. For the third year, both organizations hold their respective annual scientific meetings under one roof to unveil exciting new research, discuss emerging treatment and prevention options, and network and present. Connect and share with ObesityWeek on Twitter and Facebook, or by using #OW2015.

Meeting Link: Broussard J. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Poster abstract presentation at: The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at ObesityWeekSM 2