How your sleep habits could influence your risk of type 2 diabetes

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A diverse group of medical researchers in the Netherlands has made a significant discovery. They found that how much you sleep could be tied to your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.

The research comes from a bigger study, known as the Maastricht Study, which started back in 2010 and went on until 2018.

This bigger study had over 10,000 volunteers and was trying to understand why some people get chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes while others don’t.

What Did Researchers Find About Sleep?

The team focused on a smaller group from the Maastricht Study—5,561 people between the ages of 40 and 75.

They wanted to figure out if there was a connection between the number of hours people sleep and their likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes.

So, how did they go about it? They used questionnaires and special movement-tracking devices, known as accelerometers, which the volunteers wore on their thighs.

These devices helped the researchers understand how much these volunteers slept.

Alongside this, they also regularly checked the volunteers’ blood sugar levels to see if they were normal, slightly high (prediabetic), or high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes.

After putting all this data through a complex mathematical analysis, the researchers found something interesting: the link between sleep duration and the risk of type 2 diabetes looked like a ‘U.’

This means that both people who slept too little (like 5 hours a night) and those who slept too much (like 12 hours a night) were slightly more likely to get type 2 diabetes.

And the eye-opener? This was true regardless of other lifestyle factors like diet and exercise!

Why Does Sleep Duration Matter?

You might wonder, why focus on sleep when talking about diabetes? Well, earlier studies had already hinted that sleep habits might be connected to diabetes risk.

But most of these past studies also considered other lifestyle choices like diet and physical activity.

What sets this study apart is that it shows the link between sleep and diabetes is significant, even when you take those other factors out of the equation.

What’s Next?

While the findings are intriguing, they’re not the final word on the topic. More studies will be needed to confirm these results and to dig deeper into why exactly sleep duration has this effect on diabetes risk.

However, it’s another important clue in the ongoing quest to understand chronic diseases and how to prevent them.

So the next time you’re tempted to skimp on sleep or, conversely, spend the entire weekend in bed, remember that moderation seems to be key.

Finding a balanced sleep pattern might do more than just make you feel rested; it could also be a step in guarding against type 2 diabetes.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about the science on 3 traditional bedtime remedies, and this sleep supplement may help prevent memory loss and cognitive decline.

If you care about blood sugar, please read studies about why blood sugar is high in the morning, and how to cook sweet potatoes without increasing blood sugar.

The study was published in Sleep Health.

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