Women who suffer from sleeping problems are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new Harvard study has warned.
The risk ranges from 47 per cent for one sleep disorder to more than 4 times the risk for four different sleeping problems combined, researchers said.
Researchers from Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in Boston analysed data from 133,353 women without diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Sleeping difficulty was assessed as having difficulty falling or staying asleep ‘all of the time’ or ‘most of the time.’
A total of 6,407 cases of type 2 diabetes developed during up to 10 years of follow-up.
Women who reported two or more sleep disorders (sleeping difficulty, frequent snoring, sleeping for less than 6 hours and sleep apnoea) had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
After adjustment for lifestyle factors and comparing women with and without sleeping difficulty (one of the sleeping disorders studied), the increased risk for type 2 diabetes was 45 per cent, which changed to 22 per cent after further adjustment for hypertension, depression and Body Mass Index (BMI) based on the updated repeated measurements.
As compared with women without any of these sleep conditions, women who reported having any one of four sleeping conditions had a 47 per cent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, two conditions had around twice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while for three conditions it was around three times the risk, and for all four it was four times the risk.
“Sleeping difficulty was significantly associated with type 2 diabetes. This association was partially explained by associations with hypertension, BMI and depression symptoms, and was particularly strong when combined with other sleep disorders,” researchers said.
The findings were published in the journal Diabetologia.