Prevention

5 Facts About Sleep and Diabetes

Allison Tsai Apr 29th, 2013 (updated May 19th, 2014)
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Research has found a strong connection between sleep and diabetes. On one hand, diabetes can cause poor sleep with frequent trips to urinate at night due to high blood sugar. On the other, lack of quality sleep has been shown to raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Here is some of the more recent research.

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Low melatonin secretion raises diabetes risk
Low melatonin secretion raises diabetes risk

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our circadian rhythm and other hormones. It peaks at night, which also makes it critical for quality sleep. Researchers found that women with low levels of nighttime secretion of melatonin had twice the risk for developing type 2 diabetes than the women with high-level secretions at night.

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Poor sleep in teens raises risk of type 2 diabetes
Poor sleep in teens raises risk of type 2 diabetes

Researchers looked at 245 healthy high school students in the U.S., for one week during the school year. They provided fasting blood samples, wore an actigraph and kept a sleep log. Researchers found that if teens who normally get six hours of sleep slept for an extra hour, they improved their insulin resistance by 9 percent.

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Poor sleep in adults can raise diabetes risk
Poor sleep in adults can raise diabetes risk

Researchers looked at healthy participants for 29 days, and varied their bedtime to mirror that of shift workers. They found that shift-like sleep patterns led to poorer glucose regulation and metabolism, which can lead to obesity and diabetes.

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Pregnant women with sleep apnea have increased risk of gestational diabetes
Pregnant women with sleep apnea have increased risk of gestational diabetes

Researchers analyzed data from 150 women who had received an overnight polysomnograph and had given birth between 2000 and 2009. They found that the women with the more severe sleep apnea were at greater risk for gestational diabetes.

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Light before bed could increase diabetes risk
Light before bed could increase diabetes risk

Using an electrical light at night before bedtime suppresses melatonin levels, and that could impact quality of sleep, blood pressure and diabetes risk.