Type 2 diabetes risk in women is higher with poor sleep or lack thereof, according to new findings. Sleep problems include difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or achieving six hours or less of sleep, which have all been shown to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. The findings reveal that women with poor sleep habits or who suffer from sleep problems have a 45 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Lead researcher Dr. Yanping Li said, “Women with sleeping difficulty, especially when also having other conditions, should be aware of potential higher risk of diabetes. Doctors should pay more attention to the potential diabetes risk of women who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.”
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.”
Researchers analyzed data from over 133,000 American women between 2000 and 2014. At baseline, none of the women had diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
After a 10-year follow-up, over 6,400 women developed type 2 diabetes, and the risk of developing diabetes in women with one sleep problem was 45 percent higher compared to women without any sleep problems. For every additional sleep problem, the risk of diabetes continued to increase as well.
Zonszein explained, “People who sleep well are healthier. People who are depressed, stressed by work or who are obese will likely develop more diabetes. In our industrialized society this is common. Many people don’t get a good sleep as they are watching TV, or are in front of a computer, or a smartphone screen all day and all night. We have lost our natural good sleep that consists of work during the day, evening relaxation and a good night’s sleep.”
The findings were published in Diabetologia.