Sleep affects blood glucose control

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: December 18th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

People with diabetes know the drill: Each day they must check and re-check their blood glucose levels. That’s especially true after meals, when blood sugar often surges. Many must then inject insulin to offset high glucose levels. Now new research indicates that poor diet or improperly maintained blood sugar are just a couple of factors that can cause problems for people with diabetes.

University of Chicago researchers say that poor quality sleep, as well as fewer hours of sleep per night, could be associated with worsened blood glucose levels in blacks who have diabetes. Experts say it’s something to keep an eye on, as many people today are chronically getting too little sleep, generally because they choose to stay up late or because they suffer from insomnia.

The Chicago study evaluated one-hundred-sixty-one black middle-aged men and women with type-two diabetes. Researchers interviewed the patients about the quality and quantity of their sleep, as well as their diabetic symptoms. Each study participant was then assigned a sleep quality score Nearly seventy percent of participants had poor sleep quality, and higher blood glucose levels were directly linked to lack of quality sleep. What’s more, higher glucose readings were also associated with greater perception of sleep debt.

A good night’s sleep is clearly very important for those with diabetes. But when it comes down to it, experts aren’t dreaming when they say quality sleep is essential for everyone.