Proper Sleep Helps Young Diabetics

Parents may have a new tool to help their children cope with Type 1 diabetes: sleep.

A new study suggests that when young diabetics sleep poorly, they have a harder time controlling their blood sugar, adversely affecting their academic performance and behavior at school.

“Sleep problems were associated with lower grades, poorer performance on state standardized tests, poor quality of life and abnormalities in daytime behavior,” said Michelle Perfect, principal investigator for the study in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The study was published in the January issue of the peer-reviewed journal SLEEP.

“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,” Perfect said.

Researchers followed the sleep habits of 50 Type 1 diabetics whose ages ranged from 10 to 16. Nearly one-third had sleep apnea, the study found, as well as significantly higher blood sugar levels.

“Sleep apnea and its impact may not be confined to older people with diabetes, we don’t know,” Perfect said. “It’s something that needs to be looked at again.”

Sources: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; January issue of the journal SLEEP

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