Trouble Sleeping? You Could Be at Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

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A troubled sleep may be associated with risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from the University of South Australia are reminding individuals to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep, as recent studies suggest that poor sleep may be linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

In the first study of its kind, researchers discovered that individuals who reported difficulty sleeping tended to have on average more indicators of poor cardiometabolic health, such as inflammation markers, cholesterol, and body weight, which can increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

In Australia, almost one million adults have type 2 diabetes. Globally, type 2 diabetes affects more than 422 million people.

UniSA researcher Dr. Lisa Matricciani says different aspects of sleep are associated with risk factors for diabetes.

“Everyone knows that sleep is important. But when we think about sleep, we mainly focus on how many hours of sleep we get, when we should also be looking at our sleep experience as a whole,” Dr. Matricciani says.

“How soundly we sleep, when we go to bed and get up, and how regular our sleep habits are, may be just as important as sleep duration.”

“In this study, we examined the association of different aspects of sleep, and risk factors for diabetes, and found a connection between those who had troubled sleep and those who were at risk of type 2 diabetes.”

The study assessed more than 1000 Australian adults* with a median age of 44.8 years. Researchers examined a range of sleep characteristics: self-report trouble sleeping, duration, timing, efficiency, and day-to-day sleep length variability.

“People who reported having trouble sleeping were also more likely to have a higher body mass index, as well as blood markers of cholesterol and inflammation,” Dr. Matricciani says.

“When it comes down to the crunch, we know we must prioritize our sleep to help stay in good health. More research is needed, but as this study shows, it’s important to think about sleep as a whole, not just as one aspect.”

Reference: “Multidimensional Sleep and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes: Examining Self-Report and Objective Dimensions of Sleep” by Lisa Matricciani, Ph.D., Catherine Paquet, Ph.D., Dorothea Dumuid, Ph.D., Kurt Lushington, Ph.D. and Tim Olds, Ph.D., 2 November 2022, The Science of Diabetes Self-Management and Care.
DOI: 10.1177/26350106221137896

The study was funded by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship. 

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