Poor sleep has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). It has also been linked to increased risk of serious complications associated with this type of diabetes. For example, sleeping less than 5 hours per night and poor sleep quality are associated with developing T2D.

Many types of sleep problems

In a recent review of this topic, researchers concluded that treating sleep disorders might play an important role in preventing T2D progression. It is important to be aware that insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and restless legs syndrome (RLS) are very common in people with T2D compared with the general public. OSA causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing while you sleep. It is usually characterized by complaints such as snoring and poor quality sleep where a person does not feel rested. RLS causes an urge to move in response to uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in the legs during periods of rest. This interferes with sleep. Insomnia is also linked to increased HbA1c levels. In addition, we know that working night shifts is associated with insomnia, worse mental health and a greater risk for some of the complications associated with T2D.

Treatments for sleep problems associated with T2D

There are effective treatments and therapies available to improve sleep and health outcomes for people with T2D. Examples include weight loss, sleep education and cognitive behavioral therapy. Also, there are medicines available for specific problems such as RLS and devices for OSA (including continuous positive airways pressure or CPAP).

To sleep, perchance to dream

Sleep disorders are very common in people with T2D. We know that this negatively affects health outcomes. Since treatment of the sleep disorder could prevent diabetes progression, we should make efforts to diagnose and treat sleep disorders.

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