Napping in the day may have mixed health benefits in people with type 2 diabetes, researchers have said.
A complex relationship exists between sleep and diabetes, so Japanese researchers investigated how midday naps were associated with night-time sleep duration and blood sugar control.
They recruited nearly 400 people with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance, and asked them to participate in a questionnaire to ascertain their sleep patterns.
Data was collected on how long they slept for and whe, the quality of their sleep, whether they woke during the night and any daytime naps they had. The research team also carried out blood tests to measure the participants’ HbA1c levels.
The findings may suggest that people with type 2 diabetes who slept for short periods of time at night benefitted from napping in the day. Midday naps appeared to compensate for lost sleep at night, and reversed associated negative health effects, such as poorer blood sugar control.
Those who slept for six hours or more were also found to have better sugar control, compared with those who got less than five hours’ sleep at night. However, those who slept for long periods at night and also slept in the day were shown to also have poor blood sugar control.
Overall, the data collected, suggested that poor sleep patterns were linked to poor blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers concluded: “Midday naps may be harmful to many health status parameters in long night-time sleepers, but in short night-time sleepers, midday naps may have protective effects in specific circumstances.”
It is worth noting that we may need to consider reverse reasoning as well. For instance, higher blood sugar might possibly increase the likelihood of getting too little or too much sleep.
The findings were published in the Sleep Medicine journal.
Editor’s note: Eating healthily and getting regular exercise can help improve your sleep patterns, although it’s not always easy to get regular sleep, so try not to get too discouraged if you struggle. As long as you enjoy a healthy lifestyle then your blood sugar should follow suit, and if your blood sugar is well controlled this will help you to get good sleep.

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