JANA KLAUER, MD: The body sees sleep deprivation as a state of stress; cortisol is the stress hormone. Cortisol causes, in turn, the release of insulin and insulin is a storage hormone that promotes fat storage.
ANNOUNCER: Sleeping poorly may also do more permanent damage than just adding inches to your waistline.
SANJAY PATEL, MD: Sleeping too little seems to adversely affect glucose levels in the body, so that glucose levels are higher and people are more glucose resistant, more prone to diabetes if they sleep less.
ORFEU BUXTON, PhD: Habitual sleep restriction could play a very important role in increasing risk for diabetes later in life, especially if maintained over many years and decades, much like a sedentary lifestyle or poor eating habits. It's not something that catches up with you in a week or in two weeks, but it's something that over decades can shorten your life.
ANNOUNCER: While poor sleep can contribute to weight gain and other health problems, getting quality sleep could make it easier to get on that treadmill and stay trim.
JANA KLAUER, MD: When someone switches their sleep pattern to one of increased deep sleep, they wake up renewed. They don't put off going to the gym; they get out of bed, have their water, put on their gym clothes and go out the door and exercise.
People who exercise do spend more time in deep sleep rather than in light sleep; this has been measured. It is a cycle, and that exercise will help them to sleep better that night and so I think each kind of helps the other.
ANNOUNCER: While we all know quality sleep keeps us rested and alert for the day ahead, it now seems that it might even lead to a healthier metabolism and a healthier life.
SANJAY PATEL, MD: Given the wealth of data that exists, it makes a lot of sense that sleeping at least seven hours a night and getting good quality sleep will improve our metabolic function in terms of glucose levels, in terms of body weight, and getting a good night's sleep also makes people feel better.
ORFEU BUXTON, PhD: Sleep is a sign of a balanced lifestyle, including exercise and diet. And it's important to sleep a sufficient amount as a part of a balanced lifestyle that would promote good health.