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Sleep Durations Associated with Diabetes

Both short- and long-duration sleep implicated, although confounders likely in long-duration association

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Risk of diabetes is associated both with short- and long-duration sleep patterns, however confounding factors are likely to account for the long-duration association, according to a report in the December issue of Sleep.

James E. Gangwisch, Ph.D., of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and colleagues followed participants in the Epidemiologic Follow-up Studies of the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I) between the years 1982 and 1992. From a sample of 8,992 subjects, 430 (4.8 percent) subsequently developed diabetes. Questions regarding sleep habits were included in the 1982-1984 survey.

Subjects who reported sleeping five or fewer hours or nine or more hours were significantly more likely to develop incident diabetes (odds ratios 1.47 and 1.52, respectively) compared with those sleeping seven hours. According to the authors, the association between long sleep duration and diabetes may be due to such confounders as poor sleep quality.

"We are not aware of any plausible physiologic explanations whereby long sleep duration could play a role in the pathogenesis of diabetes," the authors note in their conclusion. "It is more likely that long sleep duration occurs in parallel to, and as a consequence of, diabetes and other conditions associated with chronic inflammation."

One of the study authors is employed by Merck Research Laboratories.

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