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Oct 24, 2015 08:53 AM EDT

Lack of sleep increase risk for diabetes and heart disease

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A korean study suggests that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night may increase their risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and strokes, Fox news reports. 

"The 'short' sleepers should be aware of the risks of developing metabolic syndrome, which could lead them to suffer from life threatening and chronic diseases," lead author Dr. Jang Young Kim of Yonsei University in South Korea said by email.

Kim's team studied about 2,600 adults for more than two years. The findings were derived from two surveys where participants were asked questions about sleep habits. The surveys were carried out two times, once between 2005 and 2008 and again sometime between 2008 and 2011. The participants also underwent medical exams and shared their medical history.

The study revealed that participants who didn't get at least six hours of sleep were 41 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome than individuals who got six to eight hours of shuteye.

It was found that shorter sleep hours led to about 30 percent increased risk of high blood sugar and excess abdominal fat, as well as 56 percent higher risk of hypertension, as compared to those who slept longer.

Kristen Knutson, a sleep researcher at the University of Chicago who wasn't involved in the study, said,

"The strength of this study is that it is a prospective study, which means short sleep was associated with the development of metabolic syndrome," Knutson said by email. "This is important because the sleep duration was measured before the people had the disease."

"We don't know yet if it is possible to reverse the effects" of too little sleep, Knutson added. "Still, adopting a healthy lifestyle which includes appropriate sleep, a healthy diet and sufficient exercise will be beneficial to your health."

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