Type 2 Diabetes and prediabetes are on the rise! The CDC recently released the 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report. Unfortunately, the prevalence of both Type 2 Diabetes and prediabetes have increased. Type 2 Diabetes in adults ages 18 and older in the US increased from 30.3 million to 34.2 million and prediabetes increased from 84.1 million to 88 million. Even more sad is the impact on adolescents and young adults. As of 12/19, 1 in 5 adolescents and 1 in 4 young adults have prediabetes. If this trend continues, it is projected 1 in 3 will have Type 2 Diabetes in their lifetime.

Type 2 Diabetes is a serious, potentially life-threatening disease of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when the body makes insulin but is unable to respond to it properly. This causes the blood sugar to rise damaging the small and large blood vessels resulting in serious complications. Obesity is considered the primary risk factor, along with family history, certain ethnicities, sedentary lifestyle, history high blood pressure, heart disease, gestational Diabetes, smoking and sleep habits.

Yes, there seems to be evidence revealing a connection between sleep and Diabetes risk. Based upon multiple studies there are several potential causes which lead to this connection. Some of these include too little sleep, too much sleep, poor quality sleep, Obstructive Sleep Apnea and disruptions in circadian rhythms to name a few.

It has been well documented that too little sleep (less than 5-6 hours) has a major impact on risks for both Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. Sleep deprivation has been shown to affect carbohydrate metabolism, endocrine function, like those see with normal aging; decrease glucose tolerance, insulin secretion and sensitivity leading to insulin resistance and increase inflammatory markers, all of which play a role in increasing obesity and Diabetes risk.

On the other hand, too much sleep (more than 8 hours) has been shown to be correlated with the presence of Diabetes risk factors. In other words, it’s more about the causes leading to excessive sleep that increase Diabetes risk. These may include unhealthy lifestyle habits, depression, poor physical health, lack of regular physical activity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea itself, has been found to be associated with insulin resistance and is known to affect 2 out of 3 people living with Diabetes. It leads to oxygen deprivation, increased risk high blood pressure, poor sleep quality, higher A1c levels and disruptions in sleep cycles.

The body has a built-in “biological clock” or circadian rhythm that regulates  sleep-wake cycle and repeats every 24 hours. Studies have shown eating or sleeping at the wrong times can disrupt this biological clock, impair glucose metabolism and increase risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

So, what is the proper amount of sleep recommended to lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes? The answer appears to be 7 – 8 hours daily is optimal. Clearly, the evidence supports the connection between sleep and Type 2 Diabetes risk. The research is ongoing, but what we know for sure is following these sleep recommendations, screening for sleep disorders, diagnosing and treating OSA, and making small changes towards living a healthier life will lower risks of developing Type 2 Diabetes and its associated complications.

To learn more about Diabetes go to https://www.diabetes.org/

To see if you are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes, take the prediabetes risk test now at  http://www.diabeteskareconsulting.com. If you score 5 or higher, call your healthcare provider and schedule an appointment to be tested.