Women, Sleep and Diabetes Risk

Women with sleep problems may be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh

(RxWiki News) Ladies, catching the recommended amount of ZZZ's may be vitally important to your health.

A new study from Harvard University found that women with sleep problems were much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body either produces too little insulin or becomes less responsive to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar.

Yanping Li, PhD, a research scientist at the Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, led this study of more than 133,000 women.

Dr. Li and team used data from 2000 to 2011 Nurses' Health Studies to look at women's self-reports of sleep difficulty (always or frequently having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep).

Researchers initially found that women with sleep difficulties were 45 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes during the 10 years of follow-up.

After accounting for related factors like high blood pressure, depression and obesity, these women were still 22 percent more likely.

Women who had more than one sleep problem had an even greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For instance, a woman who had trouble falling and staying asleep, who snored and also had sleep apnea, was four times more likely to develop diabetes than a woman who only had trouble falling asleep.

Even women who were otherwise healthy had a 44 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

This study was published Jan. 28 in the journal Diabetologia.

The National Institutes of Health funded this research. No conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Review Date: 
January 26, 2016
Last Updated:
January 29, 2016