New Study Links Sleep Duration to Diabetes Risk

Calista Alma
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April 05, 2024

A recent study published in the journal JAMA Network Open has illuminated the potential impact of sleep duration on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It suggests that inadequate sleep may pose more significant health risks beyond mere daytime drowsiness.

According to the study, individuals who sleep fewer than six hours per day face a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who sleep seven to eight hours. Dr. Diana Nôga, the study’s lead author from Uppsala University in Sweden, highlights that while previous research has underscored the connection between insufficient rest and diabetes risk, this study explores whether healthy dietary habits could mitigate such risks.

Examining data from nearly 247,900 participants in the UK Biobank study, researchers found that those with less than six hours of sleep per day were almost twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Despite adhering to a healthy diet, the study observed no significant reduction in diabetes risk associated with insufficient sleep.

While the study underscores the role of lifestyle factors in chronic diseases like diabetes, including diet and exercise habits, it emphasizes the critical importance of quality sleep. Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN wellness contributor and emergency physician, underscores that lifestyle choices significantly impact health outcomes, with sleep being a crucial factor often overlooked.

Though the study highlights a correlation between poor sleep and diabetes risk, it stops short of establishing a cause-and-effect relationship. Dr. Naveed Sattar from the University of Glasgow underscores that confirming causality would necessitate randomized trials intervening on sleeping habits to reduce diabetes risk.

However, ample evidence indicates that inadequate sleep can disrupt appetite regulation and glucose metabolism, contributing to overconsumption of calories and metabolic dysfunction. To promote better sleep hygiene, experts recommend establishing consistent sleep schedules, creating a conducive sleep environment, and adopting relaxation techniques before bedtime. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime can also support healthier sleep patterns and overall well-being.

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