Adults with prediabetes who sleep less are more likely to progress to type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
South Korean scientists found those who slept for five hours or less per night were 70 per cent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes over two years, compared to adults with slept for seven hours each night.
Researchers added this association existed independently of socioeconomic factors and lifestyle changes, and have stressed the importance of getting sufficient sleep each night.
“Our findings suggest that sufficient sleep should be part of a healthy lifestyle, especially among people with prediabetes,” said lead author Dr Chan-Won Kim, Center for Cohort Studies at Total Healthcare Center, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, who was speaking to Endocrine Today.
“For health care personnel, it may be helpful to assess sleep duration of their patients with prediabetes when they evaluate the risk of progression to diabetes. A population-level approach is also encouraged to reduce people’s exposure to sleep deprivation.”
Kim’s study focused on whether insufficient sleep would affect HbA1c levels, subsequently affecting type 2 diabetes development. The study team analysed data from 17,983 adults with prediabetes, who underwent assessments of sleep duration and quality.
The researchers, over a period of 22 months average follow-up, then measured participants’ insulin and blood glucose levels as well as other health markers. The mean nightly sleep duration was reported as 6.2 hours, with 15.6 per cent reporting poor sleep quality.
A total of 664 cases of type 2 diabetes were identified, with those who slept five or less per night 68 per cent more likely to develop the condition compared to those who slept for seven hours.
“In addition, our results suggest that biomarkers of adiposity, fatty liver and insulin resistance partially mediate this associatio, expanding the understanding of the underlying metabolic dysfunction,” added Kim.
Unlike sleep duration, however, subjective sleep quality was not associated with this increased type 2 diabetes risk.
The findings appear in the online journal Diabetic Medicine.

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