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Calls for sleep guidelines for people with type 1 diabetes

Woman peacefully getting sleep benefits

Are you getting enough sleep? People with type 1 diabetes should be advised about the benefits sleep has on their condition, according to a leading expert.

Previous research has already demonstrated the negative impact of a bad night’s sleep on people with type 1 diabetes, including affecting glycemic control and increasing the risk of complications.

Now there have been calls to turn this evidence into policy. Dr Michelle Perfect, from the University of Arizona, says there should be sleep screening recommendations in people with type 1 diabetes, after she reviewed 60 studies exploring the issue.

Writing in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep, Dr Perfect concluded that there is significant evidence available which proves that sufficient sleep is related to healthy outcomes for those with type 1 diabetes.

She commented: “However, at the current juncture, the American Diabetes Association’s Standards of Medical Care are devoid of recommendations about how to address sleep in the management of T1DM [type 1 diabetes].”

According to her review, Dr Perfect said that was a clear pattern regarding sleep benefits and type 1 diabetes. She said that “Rates of sleep disorders and problems across studies were consistently 15% or higher.”

Dr Perfect has called for sleep quality to be assessed in line with other health checks that doctors look for in people with diabetes. She says “As more studies are published, the significance of these findings may warrant inclusion of sleep recommendations in future iterations of these guidelines.”

Healthcare professionals can use existing tools to screen for sleep-related problems, Dr Perfect said. She recommended both the Children’s Sleep Habit Questionnaire or Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index for youngsters. Some continuous glucose monitors can also provide data on sleep patterns, Dr Perfect added.

More research would be useful in building the evidence and links between type 1 diabetes and sleep, Dr Perfect said. Speaking to the American Journal of Managed Care she said: “I believe the scientific evidence would be strong with larger scale, multi-site studies that track the many facets of sleep longitudinally to examine co-occurring relations with health outcomes, experimental sleep manipulation studies that determine causal effects of sleep on outcomes, and interventional studies that target modifying sleep parameters (duration, timing, consistency, etc.).”

New research is investigating sleep modification as a method to improve outcomes for people with type 1 diabetes, with another recent study finding that interventions that promote sleep increase duration and quality of sleep in teenagers with the condition.

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