Even Fat Cells Need Sleep

Here’s a study to make you hit the bed early tonight. Matthew Brady, PhD, associate professor of medicine and vice-chair of the Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition at the University of Chicago, found that not getting enough sleep has a harmful impact on fat cells in body, reducing their ability to absorb insulin by 30 percent. This can kick off a chain of events leading to weight gain, liver damage and type 2 diabetes:

“Many people think of fat as a problem, but it serves a vital function,” Brady said. “Body fat, also known as adipose tissue, stores and releases energy. In storage mode, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from the circulation where they can damage other tissues. When fat cells cannot respond effectively to insulin, these lipids leach out into the circulation, leading to serious complications.”

Read more about the study in our Newsroom. It was published in the Oct. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, and has been widely covered by USA Today and NPR, among others.

Broussard JL, Ehrmann DA, Van Cauter E, Tasali E, & Brady MJ (2012). Impaired insulin signaling in human adipocytes after experimental sleep restriction: a randomized, crossover study. Annals of internal medicine, 157 (8), 549-57 PMID: 23070488

About Matt Wood (531 Articles)
Matt Wood is a senior science writer and manager of communications at the University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences Division.
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