This Everyday Habit Can Set You Up for Type 2 Diabetes
Women who have a sleep problem may raise their risk of type 2 diabetes by 47%. What’s worse is the fact that two or more sleep issues can raise the risk by two, three or four times.
The study, known as the Nurses Health Study, followed 133,353 women from 2000 and 2001 for 10 years. At the beginning, none had diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. They were monitored for four problems: sleeping difficulty, frequent snoring, sleeping 6 hours or less, and working rotating shifts. They were asked if they had trouble falling or staying asleep “all of the time” or “most of the time.”
The results showed the increase in risk was directly related to how many of the four sleep problems they had. Of the original group, 6407 developed type 2 diabetes.
It should be noted that a large percentage of the nurses were white women. Broad generalities should not be made.
The connection between sleep loss and diabetes can be partially explained by known associations with Body Mass Index (BMI), hypertension and depression. Studies have shown poor sleep can increase the risk of obesity due to changes in metabolism and disruption of the hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Obesity is also a risk factor for hypertension.
“Patients and physicians don’t take this seriously enough,” says Yanping Li, MD, PhD of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Sleeping habits should be discussed and patients at risk should be involved in a diabetes prevention program, she said.
Researchers noted that “the findings provide evidence to clinical physicians and public health researchers for future diabetes prevention among a high-risk population of multiple sleep disorders.”
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