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Diabetes Health Center

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Got Type 2 Diabetes? Get Better Sleep

Poor Sleep, Poor Blood Sugar Control May Go Together, Study Shows
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 18, 2006 -- If you've got type 2 diabetes, poor sleep may mean worse blood sugar control, a study shows.

The study included 161 blacks with type 2 diabetes. Those who reported getting too little sleep or poor-quality sleep tended to have worse blood sugar control than their well-rested peers.

The study appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The researchers included Kristen Knutson, PhD, of the University of Chicago's medicine department.

Knutson commented on the findings in a University of Chicago Medical Center News release.

"Although we can't be certain whether sleep loss makes diabetes worse or the diabetes interferes with sleep, it only makes sense for everyone, but especially patients with diabetes, to give themselves the opportunity to get enough sleep," Knutson says.

Sleep and Blood Sugar

Previous studies have shown that people without diabetes may be more likely to get diabetes or have problems controlling their blood sugar if they get insufficient or poor-quality sleep.

Knutson's team studied sleep and blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes.

Participants answered questions about their weeknight sleep habits.

They reported how much sleep they got and how much sleep they thought they needed. They also rated the quality of their sleep.

The researchers also checked participants' hemoglobin A1c levels, which show how well blood sugar has been controlled for the previous three months.

Poor Sleep Common

Average weeknight sleep reported was six hours; that's on the skimpy side.

"Only 6% of patients reported obtaining at least eight hours of sleep on weeknights and only 22% obtained at least seven hours," the researchers write.

Sleep quality generally wasn't good, either. About seven in 10 participants were classified as having poor-quality sleep.

Hemoglobin A1c levels were worse in participants who said they got too little sleep and other participants who reported poor-quality sleep.

Those results held after screening out 39 people who said pain frequently disturbed their sleep.

Depression Depression , which can skew sleep habits, didn't affect the results, based on depression questionnaires that the patients completed.

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