Young people with diabetes may be struggling to get a good night’s sleep, resulting in worse control of their blood sugar and poorer school performance, according to a study.
“Despite adhering to recommendations for good diabetic health, many youth with Type I diabetes have difficulty maintaining control of their blood sugars,” said Michelle Perfect, PhD, the principal investigator in the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona.
“We found that it could be due to abnormalities in sleep, such as daytime sleepiness, lighter sleep and sleep apnea. All of these make it more difficult to have good blood sugar control.”
The study, which appears in the January issue of the journal Sleep, tracked the sleep health of 50 Type 1 diabetics, ages 10 to 16. Comparing that data with a similar control group, the researchers found that the young diabetics spent more time in a lighter stage of sleep than kids without diabetes, and the sleep problems were related to compromised school performance and higher blood sugar levels.
“Sleep problems were associated with lower grades, poorer performance on state standardized tests, poor quality of life and abnormalities in daytime behavior,” Perfect said. “On the upside, sleep is a potentially modifiable health behavior, so these kids could be helped by a qualified professional to get a better night’s sleep.”
Perfect and colleagues also found that nearly a third of the kids in their study had sleep apnea, regardless of weight. Sleep apnea is associated with Type 2 diabetes. The young participants with sleep apnea showed significantly higher blood sugar levels, the same pattern seen in adults.
To read a study summary and access the study via subscription or purchase, visit http://bit.ly/zRlUW4.