Increased risk of diabetes appears in women with sleep problems

by Bruce Sylvester: Women who have problems sleeping are at an increased risks of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers reported on January 28, 2016 in Diabetologia.

“Sleeping difficulty was significantly associated with type 2 diabetes. This association was partially explained by associations with hypertension, BMI and depression symptoms, and was particularly strong when combined with other sleep disorders,” said lead investigator Yanping Li, MD, PhD, of the T. H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University in Boston, USA, and colleagues.

The researchers analyzed retrospectively data on 133,353 women who were not, at baseline, diagnosed with   diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS, 2000-2010) and the Nurses’ Health Study II/NHSII (2001-2011).

The investigators in the original NHS and NHSII studies defined “sleeping difficulty” as difficulty falling or staying asleep ‘all of the time’ or ‘most of the time.’

During 10 years of follow-up, 6,407 cases of type 2 diabetes appeared.

The researchers in the new analysis adjusted for lifestyle factors at baseline, and then they compared for diabetes development subjects with and without sleeping difficulty.

They found a 45% greater risk of type 2 diabetes development among subjects with sleeping difficulty, which changed to 22% after adjustment for hypertension, depression and BMI appearing during the 10-year follow-up period.

Women with all four sleep conditions – sleeping difficulty, frequent snoring, sleep duration of six hours or less and sleep apnea (or rotating shift work in NHSII) – had a more than fourfold increased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

“Our findings highlight the importance of good sleeping patterns and having enough sleep for preventing type 2 diabetes,” the authors concluded.