Chilton Medical Center - ATLANTIC HEALTH SYSTEM
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Diabetes and Weight Gain: Side Effects of a Poor Night’s Sleep

Here’s a wake-up call: Many people who awake eight hours after going to bed may not actually receive eight hours of sleep.

A common sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea causes an individual to temporarily stop breathing during sleep, thus impeding the sleep process. This condition increases the risk for many cardiovascular diseases including heart attack and stroke.

In addition, obstructive sleep apnea also increases the risk of type II diabetes.

“A lack of sleep, caused by disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, affects the sympathetic nervous system, which affects glucose regulation,” explained John Penek, MD, FCCP, board certified in Sleep Medicine and Medical Director of the Sleep Health Institute at Chilton Hospital. “Once insulin-producing cells stop working properly, glucose levels become elevated, leaving the body vulnerable to diabetes. In addition, once you feel fatigued during the day from a lack of sleep, the sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive, throwing off its ability to regulate blood sugar properly. All it takes is just a few nights of sleeping four hours or less to disrupt this process.”

To make matters worse, the less you sleep at night, the more craving for carbohydrates you will receive during the day, according to Dr. Penek. “When you’re tired, your body produces ghrelin, a hormone that tells informs your brain that you’re hungry,” he said. “Therefore, a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain.”

Chilton Hospital’s Sleep Health Institute is offering Free Sleep Heath Screenings as a first step to diagnose and treat sleep disorders.

There are nine screenings scheduled between September and December:

  • September 9
  • September 23
  • October 7
  • October 21
  • November 4
  • November 18
  • December 2
  • December 16
  • December 30

The Free Sleep Health Screenings feature one-on-one visits with a Chilton sleep professional for individualized assessment. The personalized nature of the screenings identifies if attendees are at a risk for sleep disorder and determines if further evaluations are needed with sleep specialists. The screenings are held on Mondays at 6 p.m., at the Chilton Health Network, 242 West Parkway, Pompton Plains (about 1.5 miles from the hospital). For more information, call (973) 831-5351.

Chilton Hospital is a fully accredited, 260-bed, acute-care, community hospital. It is the first hospital in New Jersey to received Pathway to Excellence designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Chilton recently embarked on a $24 million modernization project, which includes the Cardiovascular Interventional Lab, The Breast Center and the Total Joint Center. It is also a four-time recipient of the HealthGrades Specialty Excellence Award in Stroke, and Five-Star Rated for Stroke Care, the highest possible, for six years in a row. In addition, Chilton is also Five-Star Rated for Joint Replacement and Total Knee Replacement for 2012. Chilton’s many services include a state-of-the-art Emergency Department, the Sleep Health Institute, the Comprehensive Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center, the Chilton Cancer Center, the MotherBaby Center a weight loss surgery program and minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery. The hospital is located at 97 West Parkway in Pompton Plains, NJ 07444. For more information about Chilton's facilities and services, or to find a doctor by name, specialty, or location, please visit or call 1-888-CHILTON.

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