Having trouble falling or staying asleep may leave you feeling tired and frustrated.
In a new study from Northwestern Medicine and elsewhere, researchers found it also could subtract years from your life expectancy.
The effect was even greater for people with diabetes who experienced sleep disturbances.
In the study, the team analyzed existing data of nearly half a million middle-aged participants in the UK Biobank Study.
To the scientists’ knowledge, it is the first study to examine the effect of the combination of insomnia and diabetes on mortality risk.
Participants had predominately Type 2 diabetes, the most prevalent form, though some had Type 1.
The team found people with diabetes who experienced frequent sleep disturbances were 87% more likely to die of any cause (car accident, heart attack, etc.) compared to people without diabetes or sleep disturbances.
They were 12% more likely to die over this period than those who had diabetes but not frequent sleep disturbances.
For people who don’t have diabetes, sleep disturbances are still associated with an increased risk of dying.
The team says although they already knew that there is a strong link between poor sleep and poor health, this illustrates the problem starkly.
The question asked when the participants enrolled does not necessarily distinguish between insomnia and other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
Still, from a practical point of view, it doesn’t matter. Doctors should take sleep problems as seriously as other risk factors and work with their patients on reducing and mitigating their overall risk.
If you care about sleep loss, please read studies about this sleep problem puts a strain on the heart and findings of people with high ADHD-traits are more vulnerable to this sleep problem.
For more information about sleep and your health, please see recent studies about this sleep problem may increase risk of autoimmune diseases and results showing that this sleep supplement may help prevent memory loss, cognitive decline.
The study is published in the Journal of Sleep Research. One author of the study is Kristen Knutson.
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