Poor sleep linked to poor blood sugar, study confirms

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In a new study from Lund University, researchers found that later bedtime routines and poor quality of sleep are associated with higher blood glucose levels and poorer control of blood sugar following meals.

They examined whether night-to-night fluctuations in sleep duration, efficiency, or timing affect after-meal blood sugar to breakfast the following day.

Diet, exercise, and sleep are fundamental components of a healthy lifestyle; however, the role that sleep plays in affecting the body’s control of blood sugar in people who are generally healthy has been subject to relatively little study so far.

Quality of sleep has a direct causal effect on many life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes (T2D).

In the study, the team examined 953 healthy adults from the UK and U.S. The people ate standardized test meals with a known content of carbohydrates, fat, protein, and dietary fiber.

Blood sugar was monitored using a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device which took sample data every 15 minutes for the entire duration of the study.

Sleep monitoring was performed by an actigraphy unit: a device worn on the wrist which measures the participant’s movements.

The study found that longer sleep periods were linked to lower blood glucose following high-carbohydrate and high-fat breakfasts, indicating better control of blood sugar.

Additionally, there was a within-person effect in which a study participant sleeping for longer than they typically would was likely to have with reduced after-meal blood glucose following a high-carbohydrate or high-fat breakfast the next day.

The authors also found a strong link between sleep efficiency, which indicates disturbed sleep, and blood sugar control.

Participants with higher sleep efficiency were on average more likely to have lower blood glucose than those with lower sleep efficiency.

When a participant slept more efficiently than they did normally, their blood glucose also tended to be lower than usual.

Timing of sleep had a big effect with a later sleep midpoint being associated with higher blood glucose.

These results suggest that sleep duration, efficiency and midpoint are important determinants of after-meal glycaemic control.

They underscore the importance of sleep in regulating metabolic health, and a combination of both general and more personalized sleep guidelines is likely to be necessary to enable patients to minimize their risk of metabolic disease.

If you care about blood sugar, please read studies about a big breakfast may help prevent obesity, high blood sugar and findings of blood sugar metabolism is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about blood sugar and your health, please see recent studies about why people with type 2 diabetes have poor blood sugar control and results showing that this protein snack at night can increase morning blood sugar level.

The study is published in Diabetologia. One author of the study is Neli Tsereteli.

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