|MadSci Network: General Biology|
You have touched on an interesting idea for a research project to examine sleep patterns and blood sugar control. This question has been studied and you are correct, blood sugar control is hurt by sleep disturbances. The research I am aware of involves radical changes in sleep pattern, as when people work at night and sleep during the day. I can suggest an article that describes some of this research. The article is available on the internet at this URL: http://ajpendo.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/278/3/E413. If this location does not work, you should find the article "Twenty-four-hour rhythms of plasma glucose and insulin secretion rate in regular night workers" by C. Simon, L. Weibel, and G. Brandenberger in the Am Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism Vol. 278, Issue 3, E413-E420, March 2000. This article is very technical and does not address your question directly, but if this is useful to you, there is a very good list of references at the end of this article. You might be interested in references 10, 15, 20 (from Am Journal of Physiology), 32 and 34, but again these articles are technical, and describe studies with complex procedures. You are considering a study of students who have 4-6 hours of sleep compared to those who get 8-10 hours of sleep. There are very likely differences in blood sugar control in students with different sleep patterns, however it is very difficult to measure the small changes you might expect. This study may not be suitable for a science project. You might consider a case study of one subject who would volunteer to stay awake very late to see if you can demonstrate an abnormal shift in blood sugar. Good luck to you on this very interesting project. Phyllis Stumbo University of Iowa
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