The Role of Sleep in Diabetes

The Role of Sleep in DiabetesThe Role of Sleep in Diabetes: A recent report by Phillips Electronics indicates 61% of those surveyed say sleep deprivation has had a negative impact on job performance. The report also indicates nearly 7 workdays a year are lost to sleep deprivation issues among employees. The financial impact of this seemingly universal loss of sleep runs in the billions.

Dr. David White who helped interpret the study’s findings told HealthNewsToday, “People lose sleep either because they cannot sleep (insomnia) or because they are not setting aside enough time for sleep – both of which can happen because of work-related stress in the current economic environment. People simply need to take sleep much more seriously.

“Sleep is not optional – it is absolutely critical to people’s health. The consequences of not sleeping enough are well documented. People who do not get enough sleep can gain weight, are prone to diabetes, high blood pressure and even heart attacks. We are facing a serious healthcare problem if we do not take sleep more seriously.”

Dr. White isn’t alone in his concern about sleep issues and their related effect on the development of diabetes. A UK-based study conducted by Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine studied more than 100 patients and have discovered that, “People who have both type 2 diabetes and the eye condition known as retinopathy might want to have a sleep test,” according to a report in

Dr. Sophie D. West said, “Our message would be for doctors and nurses who see patients with type 2 diabetes to consider whether they could have OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) and whether they should therefore be referred for a sleep study. Future research will try to determine whether the treatment for OSA, that is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), can delay the development or progression of retinopathy, associated with diabetes.”

A third study conducted by Temple University indicated, “The high prevalence of undiagnosed, and therefore, untreated sleep apnea among obese patients with diabetes constitutes a serious public health problem.” This according to Dr. Gary Foster who led the study.

Foster continued, “Doctors who have obese patients with type 2 diabetes need to be aware of the possibility of sleep apnea, even if no symptoms are present, especially in cases where the patient has a high BMI (Body Mass Index) or waist circumference.”

The UK-based study found, “A very high awareness of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) as a curable illness (60 percent). Interestingly, despite the fact that snoring can be a key symptom of OSA, only 35 percent considered snoring a problem for them personally and 65 percent described snoring as a minor inconvenience that they did not feel needed to be dealt with. This highlights a key problem facing the medical profession which is that Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are often under diagnosed because people do not recognize the symptoms or do not take sleep problems seriously enough to talk to their physicians. Research in recent years has shown a link between OSA, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”

Science continues to explore the cause of diabetic issues instead of simply treating the symptoms. It seems this approach is important to managing the care of diabetes instead of masking the effects of the disease by simply addressing individual symptoms. In this case sleep issues may have a direct link to the development of diabetes and associated complications.