Poor Sleep Worsens Health in Youth With Type 1 Diabetes

Poor sleep linked to increased health and behavioral problems in young people with diabetes

FRIDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Young people with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) may have difficulty getting a good night's sleep, resulting in difficulty controlling blood sugar and decreased performance in school, according to a study published in the January issue of SLEEP.

Michelle M. Perfect, Ph.D., of the University of Arizona in Tucson, and colleagues used home-based polysomnography, actigraphy, and questionnaires to track the sleep health of 50 patients, aged 10 to 16 years, with T1DM; results were compared with a control group without diabetes matched for sex, age, and body mass index. The level of glucose control was simultaneously assessed using continuous glucose monitors and hemoglobin A1C values.

The researchers found that, overall, young patients with T1DM spent about 21 minutes (or 5 percent) less time per seven-hour night in deep sleep than individuals without diabetes. Even those with mild sleep difficulties experienced more hyperglycemia and emotional and behavioral difficulties, reduced diabetes-related quality of life, lower grades, depression, sleep-wake behavior problems, poor sleep quality, sleepiness, and lower math scores. Patients with sleep apnea had associated higher blood sugar levels. As sleep is a potentially modifiable behavior, the authors suggest that improving clinician awareness of potential sleep problems could help these children and adolescents improve their quality of life.

"Overall, this study supports the need to inquire about sleepiness and sleep habits as part of the clinical care of youth with T1DM. 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 self-care, quality of life, and school performance," the authors write.

Johnson & Johnson (Lifescan) donated all One Touch Ultra Meters and a portion of the strips used in the study; several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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