New Study Reveals Possible Diabetes and Hypertension Caused by Insomnia – A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Sleep Medicine Reviews, has examined the link between a short night’s sleep and the risk of certain health disorders, such as diabetes and hypertension. The meta-analysis study, which consisted of over 2,300 articles, focused specifically on a subsection of insomnia, known as short sleep duration, which is characterized by sleeping for less than six hours a night for at least three nights a week, according to researchers at Penn State University’s Health Sleep Research and Treatment Center.
Short sleep duration, a newly proposed sub-type of insomnia disorder, is different from its parent disorder. Insomnia disorder is an umbrella term used to describe a condition in which an individual has difficulty either falling or staying asleep, with no set definition as to the duration or quality of sleep. Until recent years, short sleep duration was thought to be a symptom of insomnia, rather than a stand-alone disorder.
Initial findings from the study found that individuals with insomnia, especially those who had short sleep duration, had a higher risk of disease and comorbidity. Researchers firstly compared insomnia disorder and their associations with hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and body mass index. Of the 2,345 articles examined, individuals with short sleep duration insomnia displayed a “significantly higher risk of both hypertension and diabetes, but not body mass index, compared with individuals with insomnia disorder without short sleep duration.”
“There’s already a good set of literature which points towards people who sleep too little as having a higher risk of exactly these problems.”
Dr.Keith A. Johnson, faculty member of medicine and health at the University of Sydney in Australia and corresponding author of the study, stated in a recent interview that further research is needed to confirm the study’s findings and that it was unclear whether or not short sleep duration was the direct causation of the increased risk, as every individual involved with the study had some level of insomnia. Dr. Johnson also added, “There’s already a good set of literature which points towards people who sleep too little as having a higher risk of exactly these problems.”
Insomnia is a condition that is estimated to affect between 9% to 20% of adults in the United States. There are many different possible causes of insomnia, ranging from health conditions such as hyperthyroidism or other endocrine problems to mental health issues like stress or anxiety. Dr. Johnson stated, in regards to those currently suffering from insomnia of any type, that the increased risk of both diabetes and hypertension could, “take decades to occur”, and that there “was not necessarily a cause for concern.”
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