How much slow-wave sleep a teenage boy gets may predict whether he is at risk for insulin resistance and other health issues, according to Jordan Gaines, a Penn State neuroscience researcher. Boys who experience a greater decline in slow-wave sleep as adolescents have a significantly higher chance of developing insulin resistance than those who more closely maintained their slow-wave sleep as they got older. These boys are then also at greater risk for 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 after sleep deprivation, and is also associated with reduced cortisol and reduced inflammation. While prior research has shown that SWS declines as a person gets older, there is little research looking at possible physical or neurocognitive consequences of the loss of SWS, Gaines explained today, February 13, 2016, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C. "On a night following sleep deprivation, we'll have significantly more slow-wave sleep to compensate for the loss," said Gaines, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience, at Penn State’s College of Medicine. "We also know that we lose slow-wave sleep most rapidly during early adolescence. Given the restorative role of slow-wave sleep, we weren't surprised to find that metabolic and cognitive processes were affected during this developmental period." Gaines analyzed results collected through the Penn State Child Cohort in order to study long-term effects of SWS loss from childhood to adolescence. The cohort included 700 children from the general central Pennsylvania population, ages 5 to 12. Eight years later, 421 participants were followed up during adolescence -- 53.9 percent were male.
Login Or Register To Read Full Story