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Metabolic consequences of sleep restriction in rats

11 May 2012

PhD ceremony: Ms. R.P. Barf, 14.30 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Metabolic consequences of sleep restriction in rats

Promotor(s):prof. A.J.W. Scheurink

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Although it is important to recover from previous sleep loss, the continuous alternation for a chronic period of time can nevertheless be a risk factor for the development of metabolic diseases, showed Paulien Barf.

The development of metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes has increased in Western society over the past 50 years. In addition, average sleep duration has decreased by almost 2 hours per night. Insufficient sleep may have serious consequences for health and well-being. It has been suggested that short sleep in the long run may contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

To address this issue, Barf experimentally restricted sleep in rats under controlled laboratory conditions, which allowed for a detailed assessment of the metabolic consequences of sleep loss and its underlying mechanisms. She demonstrated that disturbed sleep may lead to an increase in blood glucose levels during a glucose tolerance test. Barf concludes from this data that the rats became glucose intolerant, which is thought to be the first step in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, disturbed sleep leads to weight loss in rats. Barf demonstrated that the reason for this decrease is an increase in energy expenditure. However, when she alternated periods of disturbed sleep with periods of undisturbed sleep, rats gained weight. This alternation is more general in real life; disturbed sleep during the week, and recuperation during the weekend.

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.42 p.m.

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