April 23, 2012 - A study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital suggests people who get short, disrupted amounts of sleep have an increased risk of diabetes and obesity. The study examined 21 healthy people in a lab setting where their sleep schedules were tweaked throughout the day. Scientists reported disrupted sleep schedules altered insulin levels and sent three people into a pre-diabetic state. Those getting irregular or restricted sleep had a slower metabolic rate. If they endured such sleeping patterns for a whole year without changes in routine or diet, the study suggests a person could gain as much as 12 pounds.
Also, a new study indicates keeping your body active is just as important as exercising your brain when it comes to warding off Alzheimer's disease. The research published in the Journal Neurology showed study participants who scored in the bottom 10 percent of physical activity were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's. Researchers say "physical activity" encompasses more than just exercise, it includes chores, cooking and even gardening. They say the study shows that people who are unable to exercise can utilize other physical activities to lower their risk for the disease.