Poor Sleep May Complicate Young Diabetics’ Blood Sugar Control

TUESDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) — Poor sleep may be undermining the
efforts of children with type 1 diabetes when it comes to controlling
their blood sugar, new research indicates.

In the study, researchers tracked sleep patterns among 50 kids with
type 1 diabetes aged 10 to 16. Compared with similarly aged kids, the
children with diabetes were found to be spending more time in a lighter
stage of sleep.

In addition, experiencing this form of sleep deficit was linked to
poorer performance in school as well as higher blood sugar levels,
according to the report published in the January issue of the journal

“Despite adhering to recommendations for good diabetic health, many
youth with type 1 diabetes have difficulty maintaining control of their
blood sugars,” the study’s principal investigator, Michelle Perfect, of
the University of Arizona in Tucson, said in a news release from the
American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

“We found that it could be due to abnormalities in sleep, such as
daytime sleepiness, lighter sleep and sleep apnea. All of these make it
more difficult to have good blood sugar control,” Perfect added.

The study authors also found that about one-third of the children with
type 1 diabetes had sleep apnea, irrespective of their weight. What’s
more, those who had sleep apnea also had much higher blood sugar levels.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes frequent pauses in breathing during
sleep, which leads to daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

The investigators noted that sleep apnea is a condition that has
previously been associated with type 2 diabetes (which typically affects
adults). The findings among these study participants may mean that it is
also an issue among younger diabetes patients, they said in the news

In the meantime, Perfect pointed out that “sleep problems were
associated with lower grades, poorer performance on state standardized
tests, poor quality of life and abnormalities in daytime behavior. On the
upside, sleep is a potentially modifiable health behavior, so these kids
could be helped by a qualified professional to get a better night’s

More information

For more on sleep apnea, visit the U.S. National Diabetes
Education Program

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