Washington: Proper sleep patterns are critical for healthy metabolic function, and even mild impairment in our circadian rhythms can lead to serious health consequences, including diabetes and obesity, a new study has warned.
"We should acknowledge the unforeseen importance of our 24-hour rhythms for health," said Claudia Coomans, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Molecular Cell Biology in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, Netherlands. "To quote Seneca ``We should live according to nature (secundum naturam vivere).``"
To make this discovery, Coomans and colleagues exposed mice to constant light, which disturbed their normal internal clock function, and observed a gradual degradation of their bodies`` internal clocks until it reached a level that normally occurs when aging. Eventually the mice lost their 24-hour rhythm in energy metabolism and insulin sensitivity, indicating that relatively mild impairment of clock function had severe metabolic consequences.
"The good news is that some of us can ``sleep it off`` to avoid obesity and diabetes," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "The bad news is that we can all get the metabolic doldrums when our normal day/night cycle is disrupted."
The study has been published in The FASEB Journal.