A diverse group of medical researchers in the Netherlands have made a significant discovery. They found that how much you sleep could be related to your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The research comes from a larger study called the Maastricht study, which started back in 2010 and ran until 2018.
This larger study involved over 10,000 volunteers and sought to understand why some people have chronic conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, while others do not.
What have researchers found out about sleep?
The team focused on a smaller group from the Maastricht study – 5,561 people between the ages of 40 and 75.
They wanted to find out whether there was a connection between the number of hours of sleep and the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
So how did they go about it? They used questionnaires and special motion-tracking devices called accelerometers that the volunteers wore on their thighs.
These devices helped the researchers understand how much these volunteers were sleeping.
In addition, they regularly checked the subjects’ blood sugar levels to determine whether they were normal, slightly elevated (prediabetic), or high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes.
After the researchers subjected all of this data to a complex mathematical analysis, they found something interesting: the association between sleep duration and risk of type 2 diabetes looked like a “U.”
This means that both people who slept too little (e.g. 5 hours a night) and those who slept too much (e.g. 12 hours a night) had a slightly higher risk of developing type 2 to develop diabetes.
And the eye opener? This was true regardless of other lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise!
Why is sleep duration important?
You may be wondering: Why should you focus on sleep when talking about diabetes? Well, previous studies had suggested that sleeping habits could be linked to diabetes risk.
However, most of these earlier studies also considered other lifestyle choices, such as diet and physical activity.
What is special about this study is that it shows that the link between sleep and diabetes is significant, even when you ignore these other factors.
While the results are intriguing, they are not the final word on the subject. More studies are needed to confirm these findings and to look more closely at exactly why sleep duration has this impact on diabetes risk.
However, it is another important clue in the ongoing quest to understand chronic disease and prevent it.
So next time you’re tempted to skimp on sleep or, conversely, stay in bed all weekend, remember that moderation seems to be key.
Finding a balanced sleep pattern can do more than just make you feel rested. It could also be a step in protecting against type 2 diabetes.
If sleep is important to you, read scientific studies on three traditional bedtime remedies. This sleep supplement can help prevent memory loss and cognitive decline.
If you care about blood sugar, please read studies on why blood sugar is high in the morning and how to cook sweet potatoes without raising blood sugar.
The study was published in sleep health.
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