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Longer Sleep Duration Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

People who sleep 9 or more hours per night are associated with higher risk of incident diabetes according a recent study…

Evidences suggests that diabetes and sleep problems are linked to each other. Diabetes can cause insomnia in some people and sleep deprivation may increase for developing diabetes.

In a 20-year long research study consisting of four cycles of a five-year period, researchers recorded and calculated the changes in sleep duration for a total of 17,841 participants without diabetes. The end of each cycle, incident diabetes was defined using 1) fasting glucose, 2) 75-g oral glucose tolerance test, and 3) glycated hemoglobin, in conjunction with diabetes medication and self-reported doctor diagnosis.

When compared to the controlled group of persistent 7 hours sleepers, results of the study showed “an increase of ≥2 h sleep per night was associated with a higher risk of incident diabetes (odds ratio 1.65 [95% CI 1.15, 2.37]) in analyses adjusted for age, sex, employment grade, and ethnic group. This association was partially attenuated by adjustment for BMI and change in weight (1.50 [1.04, 2.16]). An increased risk of incident diabetes was also seen in persistent short sleepers (average ≤5.5 h/night; 1.35 [1.04, 1.76].”

According to the study, the significance of the results was attenuated when researchers factored in adjustment for BMI and changes in the weight. The authors suggest that, “greater weight and weight gain in this group partly explain the association.”

The finding of this study provides an important understanding about the role of sleep and its effect on the development of diabetes. Further studies are recommended before the association between sleep and diabetes can be established.

Practice Pearls:

  • An increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes was observed in participants slept for an average of less than 5.5 per night or more than 9 hours per night.
  • BMI and weight changes may serve as confounding factors affecting the results of the study.
  • Sleep and diabetes are often affecting each other.

Ferrie JE, Kivimäki M, Akbaraly TN, Tabak A, Abell J, Davey Smith G, Virtanen M, Kumari M, Shipley MJ. Change in Sleep Duration and Type 2 Diabetes: The Whitehall II Study. Diabetes Care. 2015 Jun 11. pii: dc150186.