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
"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 release.
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 sleep."
For more on diabetes, visit the
Diabetes Education Program.