People who sleep less than six hours a night are nearly five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, suggests a new study.
The study showed that people who slept less than six hours a night during the work week were nearly five times more likely to develop abnormal fasting blood sugar levels, an important precursor for diabetes.
"This study supports growing evidence of the association of inadequate sleep with adverse health issues. Sleep should be assessed in the clinical setting as part of well-care visits throughout the life cycle," said Lisa Rafalson, Ph.D., lead author of the study and National Research Service Award fellow and research assistant professor at the University at Buffalo in New York.
"While previous studies have suggested that there may be many genes that each have a very small effect on the risk of diabetes, there is no known genetic predisposition to sleep disturbances that could explain our study's results, especially in this limited sample size," Rafalson said.
"It is more likely that pathways involving hormones and the nervous system are involved in the impaired-sleep/fasting glucose association," she said.
In the study involving 1,455 participants, the researchers found that people who slept less than six hours a night were 4.56 times more likely to become diabetics over six year period.
"Our findings will hopefully spur additional research into this very complex area of sleep and illness," said Rafalson.
The study was presented at American Heart Association's 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.