Sleep Apnea May Cause Diabetics to Crave Carbs

Sleep apnea is a literally exhausting hassle for sufferers, who wake countless times in the night as their sleep is interrupted by the frustrating condition.

Sleep apnea is also frustrating to spouses and partners of the afflicted, who are also woken by episodes of snoring, startling, waking and other symptoms. But as researchers probe not only the causes and effects of sleep apnea, a clearer picture is emerging of how the condition disrupts and influences metabolic processes as well.

Earlier, we reported on how sleep deprivation and depression go hand in hand with obesity, and it appears that in diabetics, the condition also may cause carbohydrates cravings, a circumstance that can worsen symptoms of diabetes.

A study scheduled to be presented this week at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Boston looked at 55 participants, who were examined to determine whether they presented with diabetes, sleep apnea and carbohydrate cravings.

Half of the 55 had diabetes, and of that half, 82% presented with obstructive sleep apnea. Among those in the sleep apnea and diabetes group, carb cravings were twice as high.

In a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Dr. Mahmood Siddique explains:

“Previous studies have shown that sleep deprivation may lead to changes in hormones that regulate appetite and hunger… These hormonal changes can lead to significant craving for high-calorie carbohydrates such as cookies, candy, breads, rice and potatoes. The current study supports previous findings by validating this in a community sample of diabetics.”

The research on sleep apnea and carbohydrate cravings has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.