What are the best approaches to reduce the staggering health and economic costs of the diabetes and obesity epidemics? Traditional efforts have centered on diet and exercise, which are key health behaviors during wakefulness. Yet, mounting evidence supports the addition of sleep as a third pillar of health. Increasingly, scientific research suggests insufficient sleep puts Americans at risk for weight gain and impaired glucose regulation. Synthesizing epidemiological studies with clinical experiments enables a more complete understanding of these relationships by tying population-level trends to underlying mechanisms and causes. Although the associations between sleep, obesity, and diabetes and their intertwined mechanisms are still emerging, the current "epidemic" of insufficient sleep seems to warrant individual, behavioral, and policy interventions.
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