Diabetics Who Sleep Poorly Have Higher Insulin Resistance

Two new studies on individuals with diabetes have found a potentially troubling link between sleep quality and insulin resistance. The results of both studies suggest that diabetics with poor sleep are more likely to have higher insulin resistance and more trouble controlling their condition.
The lead author of the first study, Kristen Knutson, said, “Poor sleep quality in people with diabetes was associated with worse control of their blood glucose levels.” Diabetics that have problems controlling glucose levels are known to have a higher risk of complications, which leads to a reduced quality of life. These individuals are also shown to have a lower life expectancy than diabetics that have well-controlled blood glucose levels.

The study involved the monitored sleep of 40 diabetics for six nights. All study subjects wore monitors on their wrists during the night, which measured their movements the entire night. Poor sleep quality was determined by two factors; both the information provided by the activity monitors and what the subjects told researchers. Study subjects that told researchers they had a hard time getting to sleep or woke up at least once during the night were determined to have poor sleep quality.

Among the 40 diabetics in the study, those with poor sleep had 23% higher glucose levels in the morning, with 48% higher blood insulin levels. These numbers were used to estimate each person’s insulin resistance. Researchers determined that the diabetics with poor sleep had 82% higher insulin resistance than diabetics with normal quality sleep.

A second study, first published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at African-Americans with type 2 diabetes and their sleep habits. During the study, 161 African-Americans were interviewed about their sleep, after which researchers reviewed the subjects’ medical records and checked their HbA1c tests. An HbA1c test is used to measure long-term blood glucose control and was very useful in the study.

The participants interviewed got an average of six hours of sleep each night. 6% got at least eight hours of sleep and 22% got at least seven hours. Many participants in the study reported poor sleep. The average HbA1c level was 8.3%, which is higher than the 7% recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Individuals that reported at least one diabetes complication also had poor quality sleep which researchers associated with higher HbA1c levels as well. Other participants in the study with the fewest hours of sleep showed the higher HbA1c levels.

This study seems to suggest that more sleep at night, as well as a better quality of sleep, can improve blood glucose control in diabetic individuals. However, more research is needed to prove this finding. Still, it’s a good idea for diabetics to try to get more sleep as other studies have shown sleep deprivation can lead to other health problems.

It’s important to realize that managing diabetes is a full-time job. In addition to proper sleep, managing diabetes can include:

You should check your blood glucose levels regularly and incorporate any advice from your doctor into your daily routine. Although diet and exercise can improve and control blood glucose in the beginning, it may be necessary to take insulin at some point. Discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.

It’s also advised that all diabetics wear a medical ID bracelet. Medical ID bracelets come in all colors and styles today and can speak for you in an emergency. In case of accident, responders may not immediately be able to recognize your symptoms. A survey of emergency responders showed that over 95% check for a medical ID upon arriving at a scene. An ID bracelet can help protect you from potentially harmful medical intervention and allow someone to help you effectively and quickly. Check out the fashionable and functional medical ID jewelry from American Medical ID today!

About Amanda Beck

Amanda Beck writes for American Medical ID on a variety of topics relating to health care and healthy living, especially for those whose medical conditions warrant an emergency ID.