Sleep Problems Lead to Diabetes?

Findings in the journal Diabetologia show that risk of Type 2 diabetes is higher in women with sleep difficulties including falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping for a full six hours. Researchers analyzed data from over 133,000 American women; at baseline, none had diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. After a 10-year follow-up, over 6,400 women developed type 2 diabetes—women with one sleep problem had a 45% higher risk compared to those without sleep problems. Every additional sleep problem (such as snoring and apnea) brought with it an additional rise in risk.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center, added, “Not sleeping well affects the circadian rhythm regulated by hormones that are so important for metabolism and involved in control of blood sugar. Thus, it is not surprising that sleep disorders are associated with obesity and diabetes.” Sleep disorders are also associated with hypertension, higher BMI, and depression, which may also explain the rise in diabetes risk.

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