Sleeping too little or too much has been found to be associated with an increased risk for diabetes. Finnish researchers now report that lifestyle interventions may reduce the excess risk of diabetes associated with long sleep duration. Their findings were published online before print on August 3, 2009.
The Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study Grouprandomly assigned 522 overweight adults with impaired glucose tolerance, aged 40 to 64 years, to either intensive diet-exercise counseling or no intervention. The incidence of diabetes was followed for a period of 7 years, and physical activity, dietary intake, body weight, and sleep duration were measured. The researchers found a significant interaction between sleep duration, treatment group, and likelihood of diabetes. They found that, among the intensive diet-exercise counseling group, sleep duration did not influence the incidence of diabetes.
Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that lifestyle interventions aimed at weight reduction, healthy diet, and increased physical activity might counteract the excess diabetes risk associated with long sleep duration in middle-aged adults who already have impaired glucose tolerance. So, even among adults with pre-diabetes, there may still be a way to delay or prevent the development of diabetes and its associated medical complications.