Diabetes Risk Greater For Older Women Who Get Too Much — Or Not Enough — Sleep

A surprising new study indicates there is a high correlation between the amount of sleep middle-aged and older woman get and the development of diabetes. In fact, according to a new study published in Diabetologia the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes — and first reported by the Huffington Post — those women who get under six hours of sleep, along with those that get over eight hours, are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

The startling results were a part of a recent study completed by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Kaiser Permanent research out of California. Based on the findings of the research, which looked at close to 60,000 women from 55 to 83 years of age, there is a sweet spot of sleep hours women need to get in order to avoid a higher risk of diabetes.

Many patients with type 2 diabetes have to take insulin injections. [Photo By John Moore/Getty Images] Many patients with type 2 diabetes have to take insulin injections. [Photo By John Moore/Getty Images]The study concluded that those women who managed to get less than six hours of sleep and those who got more than eight hours had a modest increase in developing type 2 diabetes. This seems to indicate that women should get between six and eight hours of sleep if they want to decrease the chances of getting the disease.

That being said, the study also concluded that, after taking into account the change in body-mass index from 1986 to 2000, the correlation between women who did not get enough sleep and the development of diabetes was not significant. Although this may seem contradictory, women in the study who got more than enough sleep still had a higher risk at developing diabetes.

However, there is more to the study than simply concluding that too much sleep is directly linked to diabetes. In fact, it should be noted that the women in the study who got more than eight hours of sleep a night often spent the majority of their life getting under six hours. With that in mind, it would appear that there is still a large connection between a lack of sleep and diabetes.

Additionally, changing sleep patterns later in life might not make up for not getting enough sleep earlier on. This means that younger women should keep a better eye on their sleeping patterns and try to get at least six hours of sleep in a night.

Diabetic patients may be able to control their insulin levels with oral medication. [Photo By John Moore/Getty Images] Diabetic patients may be able to control their insulin levels with oral medication. [Photo By John Moore/Getty Images]Meanwhile, this relationship between diabetes and sleep has a long history. In fact, people who suffer from diabetes are more likely to also deal with bad sleeping habits. This includes problems with falling asleep as well as remaining asleep throughout the night.

Moreover, it may come as a surprise that the majority of American adults deal with problematic sleeping patterns. With that in mind, most adults fall in the category of not getting enough sleep rather than getting too much. While there are a lot of factors that can contribute to issues with sleep, obesity is a one of the more significant problems that leads to sleepless nights.

There is, in fact, a whole host of issues that go along with obesity. Not only are people who are obese suffer from sleep related problems, such as snoring and sleep apnea, but they are also more prone to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and arthritis. Not surprisingly, obesity is also associated with an increase in diabetes.

At the same time, the study in question does a lot to further the understanding of the relationship between sleep and diabetes. In addition to sleep duration increasing the risk of diabetes, there was also a relationship between eating habits and physical activity. According to Diabetoloia, these associations often led to weight gain, while adjustments for eating habits and physical activity did not change any of the results.

For more information, read the study results here.

[Image via Pixabay]