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15-01-2012 | Psychology | Article

Poor sleep may impact health of young diabetes patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from a US study suggest that poor sleep is associated with increased glucose levels, worse performance at school, and reduced health-related quality of life in young people with Type 1 diabetes.

Lead researcher Michelle Perfect and colleagues from the University of Arizona in Tucson, explain that "with the recognition that sleep may impact glucose regulation, it is important to determine the role that sleep plays in the management of diabetes in youth with Type 1 diabetes."

The researchers therefore studied 40 young people, aged 10-16 years, with Type 1 diabetes and 40 young people without the condition who were matched for age, gender, and body mass index.

Over a 5-day period, all of the participants underwent home-based polysomnography, kept sleep diaries, and wore a glucose monitor to record blood-sugar levels.

They completed the Diabetes Quality of Life Youth Version (DQOL-Y) at the end of the study period and their school records were also examined.

The researchers found that participants with diabetes spent a greater proportion of their sleep time in light-stage N2 sleep than controls, at 57.21% versus 52.28%, and a lower proportion of time in N3 stage sleep, at 14.55% versus 18.87%.

Among the patients with diabetes, those with evidence of sleep disordered breathing (n=14), as indicated by an apnea-hypopnea index score of 1.5 or higher, had higher glucose levels than those without, at 208.50 versus 169.62 mg/dL.

Furthermore, greater levels of daytime sleepiness among the diabetic patients were associated with poorer school grades, greater levels of problem behaviour, and reduced DQOL-Y scores for Disease Impact, Life Satisfaction, and Diabetes-Related Worries.

Perfect and team conclude in Sleep: "Overall, this study supports the need to inquire about sleepiness and sleep habits as part of the clinical care of youth with Type 1 diabetes.

"Clinicians and school-based professionals need to be aware that reports of daytime sleepiness, disrupted sleep, or poor sleep habits, may affect patients' daytime functioning, including the possibility of interfering with their diabetes selfcare, quality of life, and school performance."

By Mark Cowen

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