The amount of sleep a teenager slow waves can be predicted if you are at risk for insulin resistance and other health problems, according to Jordan Gaines, a researcher in neuroscience at Penn State.
Men who experience a greater decrease in slow-wave sleep as teenagers are significantly more likely to develop insulin resistance that keeps more closely their slow wave sleep as they aged. These guys are then you are also at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, increased visceral fat and impaired attention.
slow wave sleep (SWS) is an important stage of sleep that is involved in memory consolidation and recovery from sleep deprivation, and is also associated with reduced cortisol and inflammation. While previous research has shown that SWS decreases as a person ages, there is little research looking at possible physical consequences or neurocognitive loss SWS, Gaines explained today (Feb. 13) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
“In one night after sleep deprivation, we will have more slow-wave sleep to compensate for the loss,” Gaines, a doctoral student in neuroscience at the Faculty of Medicine. “I also know that we lose slow wave sleep faster during early adolescence. Given the remedial role of slow wave sleep, we were not surprised to find that the metabolic and cognitive processes were affected during this period of development.”
Gaines analyzed the results collected through child cohort of Penn State in order to study the long term effects SWS loss from infancy through adolescence. The cohort included 700 children in the general population, central Pennsylvania, ages 5 to 12. Eight years later, 421 participants were followed during adolescence, 53.9 percent were male.
Participants stayed overnight both at baseline and follow-up and had their sleep monitored for nine hours. In the follow-up visit, body fat of participants and insulin resistance were measured, and also underwent neurocognitive testing.
Gaines found that in males, a greater loss of SWS between childhood and adolescence was significantly associated with insulin resistance, and this loss is associated with increased marginally belly fat and decreased attention. However, Gaines No association between SWS and insulin resistance, physical health and brain function in girls was found.
Importantly, sleep duration of participants was not significantly reduced with age, suggesting that the observed effects are due to a loss of this “deeper” sleep stage, according to the researcher.
“Further longitudinal studies to replicate these results, especially in other age groups are needed,” Gaines said. “Studies looking at the effects of experimentally enhanced slow wave sleep are also needed. Meanwhile, we can use these results as a springboard for future work on the connection of sleep-health. The best we can do for ourselves today days is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, so as not to deprive ourselves of any more slow-wave sleep than we are already losing naturally with age. “