Sleep disturbances and glucose homeostasis

R. Paulien Barf, Anton J.W. Scheurink

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Sleep disturbances, induced by either lifestyle, shift work or sleeping disorders, have become more prevalent in our 24/7 Western society. Sleep disturbances are associated with impaired health including metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. The question remains whether there is a direct effect of disturbed sleep on glucose homeostasis. Experimental studies under controlled laboratory conditions in both humans and experimental animals revealed that there are differences between the effects of acute or chronic sleep disturbance. Acute sleep restriction clearly leads to glucose intolerance, often combined with insulin resistance. Although glucose intolerance does also occur after chronic sleep disturbance, the changes in insulin can vary, dependent on the body weight changes in the various studies. The underlying mechanism that might cause the changes in glucose homeostasis after sleep disturbance remains unclear, but both the biological clock located in the nucleus suprachiasmaticus as well as orexinergic mechanisms in brain and periphery seem to be involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • obstructive sleep apnoea
  • rats
  • type 2 diabetes
  • hyperglycaemia
  • glucose homeostasis
  • shift work
  • sleep deprivation
  • sleep restriction

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