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Insomnia And Type 2 Diabetes

Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, MD · Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated May 18, 2021

    Insomnia And Type 2 Diabetes

    A recent study has proven the connection between insomnia and type 2 diabetes. People are found to have a greater risk of developing diabetes if they suffer from a lack of sleep. But how does insomnia cause diabetes? Can diabetics take sleeping pills to address this? Let’s find out.

    Studies on the connection between insomnia and diabetes type 2

    A study published in Diabetologia has recently identified insomnia as the newest risk factor of type 2 diabetes. The study found that people with insomnia have a 17 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the risk decreased from 17 to 7 percent after the researchers adjusted the BMI of the participants with insomnia. As it turns out, BMI also plays an important role.

    The researchers of the study believe that their findings will influence health policies to focus on preventive strategies for type 2 diabetes. These health policies must have preventive strategies that are constructed from multiple perspectives, such as bringing down the rates of obesity, smoking, and enhancing mental health, quality of sleep, and education.

    More research findings

    Another study also looked into the relationship between chronic insomnia and type 2 diabetes. The researchers conducted the study by monitoring their participants (people with insomnia) for six years. Here are their findings:

    • At the end of the study, it showed that people with insomnia are 16 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than others.
    • Among those with the sleeping disorder, participants 40 years old and younger are more at risk of type 2 diabetes than their older counterparts.
    • Those 40 and under who have insomnia are 31 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes than those without the sleeping problem of the same age.
    • Participants with insomnia who are 41 to 65 years old have a higher risk of type diabetes by 24 percent than those without insomnia in the same age group.
    • And lastly, people with the same sleeping disorder ages 66 and older are more vulnerable to type 2 diabetes by 6 percent than those in the same age group without insomnia.
    • Participants with chronic insomnia or have been experiencing difficulty sleeping for about eight years have a 50 percent risk of acquiring the chronic disease than those without sleep disorders. On the other hand, those who have insomnia for about 4 years have a 14 percent higher risk of having the disease than those without the disorder.

    How does insomnia increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes?

    Sleep plays an essential role in maintaining a person’s health and well-being. However, if a person has insomnia, it will be difficult for them to have high quality sleep every night.

    Sleep deprivation increases your blood sugar, resulting in serious problems like diabetes. Researchers also found that people are gaining more insulin resistance due to lack of sleep. It can also have a negative influence on the bodily hormones. The unhealthy levels of the two hormones that regulate appetite, ghrelin and leptin, caused by a lack of sleep can lead to poor eating habits. Overeating can increase someone’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

    Can diabetics take sleeping pills to treat their insomnia?

    A study on the effects of prolonged sleeping pill or melatonin supplement use in diabetic-insomnia patients show that:

  • The short-term use of melatonin improves the quality of sleep of people with type 2 diabetes and insomnia without affecting their blood glucose and lipid metabolism.
  • Long-term use of melatonin, on the other hand, can benefit a person’s A1C, and it encourages better glycemic control.
  • It is advisable to consult your doctor before trying out over-the-counter sleep medication.

    Tips for people with insomnia

    Since insomnia has proven to be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, people with this sleeping disorder need to address it first. Here’s what you can do to get better sleep:

    • Go to bed at the same time every night or establish a sleep schedule.
    • Make your bedroom a place where you can fully relax and have some quiet time.
    • Exercise regularly during the day to relieve stress, thus making you sleep better at night. But refrain from strenuous exercise a few hours prior to sleeping. This may also result in difficulty sleeping.
    • Limit caffeine consumption.
    • Eat the right amount of food and refrain from overeating.
    • Quit smoking.
    • Have a relaxing bedtime routine, such as taking a shower and having a warm cup of tea, before sleeping.
    • Do not force yourself to sleep. It is fine to get up and do some activities that might help your body and mind to relax. Remember that the more you force yourself to sleep, the more you’ll stay awake.

    Key takeaways

    A lot of research has been done to prove the link between insomnia and type 2 diabetes. All of them support the claim that the sleeping disorder can increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes.

    Addressing a sleeping problem like insomnia takes time and effort. But if you consistently take little steps to solve it, then not only will you sleep better at night, you would also be reducing your chances of developing diabetes.

    Learn more about Type 2 Diabetes, here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mia Dacumos, MD

    Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

    Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated May 18, 2021

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