09/21/2006 - News

Diabetes may be made worse by sleep deprivation

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Diabetes may be made worse by sleep deprivation

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

Sleep deprivation is linked to poor blood sugar control in diabetes, according to a new study.
It is already known that sleep deprivation impairs blood sugar control in healthy people. Now, for the first time, there is evidence it has a negative impact on those with diabetes as well.

Researchers at the University of Chicago have carried out a study on 161 African-American patients with diabetes, who were asked how much sleep they thought they needed - and how much they actually got. Glycosylated hemoglobin - a standard measure of blood sugar control - was also determined. On average, these patients seemed to be suffering from sleep deprivation - getting only around six hours a night. Only six per cent got eight hours and, for most, sleep quality was assessed as being poor. It may be that painful complications of diabetes interfere with sleep. But even when this was excluded, two out of three still had sleep deprivation.

Insufficient sleep was clearly linked to poor blood sugar control. While the study does not actually prove that diabetes interferes with sleep, or that sleep deprivation makes diabetes worse, the message is clear. People with diabetes should try to pay more attention to the amount and quality of sleep they are getting.

Archives of Internal Medicine 18th September 2006

Created on: 09/21/2006
Reviewed on: 09/21/2006

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