People who have trouble sleeping are at a higher risk of dying – especially diabetics 睡眠困難的人死亡風險更高——尤其是糖尿病患者

News Release 8-Jun-2021

University of Surrey

Research News

In a paper published by the Journal of Sleep Research, researchers reveal how they examined data* from half a million middle-aged UK participants asked if they had trouble falling asleep at night or woke up in the middle of the night.

The report found that people with frequent sleep problems are at a higher risk of dying than those without sleep problems. This grave outcome was more pronounced for people with Type-2 diabetes: during the nine years of the research, the study found that they were 87 per cent more likely to die of any cause than people without diabetes or sleep disturbances.

The study also found that people with diabetes and sleep problems were 12 per cent more likely to die over this period than those who had diabetes but not frequent sleep disturbances.

Malcolm von Schantz, the first author of the study and Professor of Chronobiology from the University of Surrey, said:

“Although we already knew that there is a strong link between poor sleep and poor health, this illustrates the problem starkly.”

“The question asked when the participants enrolled does not necessarily distinguish between insomnia and other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea. Still, from a practical point of view it doesn’t matter. Doctors should take sleep problems as seriously as other risk factors and work with their patients on reducing and mitigating their overall risk.”

Professor Kristen Knutson of Northwestern University, the senior co-author of the study, said:

“Diabetes alone was associated with a 67 per cent increased risk of mortality. However, the mortality for participants with diabetes combined with frequent sleep problems was increased to 87 per cent. In order words, it is particularly important for doctors treating people with diabetes to also investigate sleep disorders and consider treatments where appropriate.”

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News Release 8-Jun-2021

Have trouble sleeping? You’re at higher risk of dying, especially if you have diabetes 入睡困難? 你有更高的死亡風險,特別是如果你患有糖尿病

Those with diabetes, frequent sleep problems were 87% more likely to die in following 9 years

Northwestern University

Research News

CHICAGO — Having trouble falling or staying asleep may leave you feeling tired and frustrated. It also could subtract years from your life expectancy, according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom (UK).

The effect was even greater for people with diabetes who experienced sleep disturbances, the study found. Study participants with diabetes who experienced frequent sleep disturbances were 87% more likely to die of any cause (car accident, heart attack, etc.) during the 8.9-year study follow-up period compared to people without diabetes or sleep disturbances. They were 12% more likely to die over this period than those who had diabetes but not frequent sleep disturbances.

“If you don’t have diabetes, your sleep disturbances are still associated with an increased risk of dying, but it’s higher for those with diabetes,” said corresponding study author Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology (sleep medicine) and preventive medicine (epidemiology) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

But by answering one simple question — “Do you have trouble falling asleep at night or do you wake up in the middle of the night?” — people can begin to address sleep disturbances earlier in life and hopefully mitigate this increased risk of death, Knutson said.

“This simple question is a pretty easy one for a clinician to ask. You can even ask yourself,” Knutson said. “But it’s a very broad question and there are a lot of reasons you might not be sleeping well. So it’s important to bring it up with your doctor so they can dive deeper.

“Is it just noise or light or something bigger, like insomnia or sleep apnea? Those are the more vulnerable patients in need of support, therapy and investigation into their disease.”

The study will be published June 8 in the Journal of Sleep Research.

“Although we already knew that there is a strong link between poor sleep and poor health, this illustrates the problem starkly,” said first study author Malcolm von Schantz, professor of chronobiology from the University of Surrey. “The question asked when the participants enrolled does not necessarily distinguish between insomnia and other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Still, from a practical point of view it doesn’t matter. Doctors should take sleep problems as seriously as other risk factors and work with their patients on reducing and mitigating their overall risk.”

The authors analyzed existing data of nearly half a million middle-aged participants in the UK Biobank Study. To the scientists’ knowledge, it is the first study to examine the effect of the combination of insomnia and diabetes on mortality risk.

“We wanted to see if you have both diabetes and sleep disturbances, are you worse off than just diabetes alone?” Knutson said. “It could have gone either way, but it turns out having both diabetes and sleep disturbances was associated increased mortality, even compared to those with diabetes without sleep disturbances.”

Participants had predominately Type 2 diabetes, the most prevalent form, though some had Type 1.

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Jason Ong, adjunct associate professor of neurology (sleep medicine) at Feinberg is a co-author on the study.

The study was supported by funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (grant numbers R01DK095207 and 1R01HL141881) and by a University of Surrey Institute of Advanced Studies Santander fellowship.

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