The Connection Between Lack of Sleep and Diabetes

connection between lack of sleep and diabetesRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Have trouble sleeping? The consequences can go far beyond just feeling tired during the day.

Recent research has found a potential link between insomnia and an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

According to Sherl Westlund, executive director of Diabetes Research WA, a Harvard study released this year found that women who experienced a number of sleep concerns had a significantly higher risk of becoming diabetics.

More than 133,000 women were evaluated as part of the study, with the range of sleep difficulties cited including problems staying asleep, frequent snoring, sleeping less than six hours, sleep apnea or working on a rotating shift schedule. Females dealing with any combination of these issues were up to four times as likely to develop type-2 diabetes within ten years.

The research was similarly dire for teenagers. For teens that sleep less than eight hours a night, there is an increased likelihood of developing fat around the midsection and insulin resistance, both major precursors to becoming diabetic.

The research reinforces the medical consensus that quality sleep is one of the fundamental cornerstones to maintaining overall good health.

Inadequate sleep in all forms can be harmful. This is particularly the case for sleep apnea, a sleep breathing disorder that develops when the airway becomes blocked. These blockages can happen as many as 30 times a night, disrupting the ability to sleep and increasing the risk of other serious health problems—including diabetes—such as high blood pressure, cardiac disease, and depression.

CPAP no more

In the past, the CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure) machine was known as the “gold standard” for treating obstructive sleep apnea. The CPAP works by the patient wearing a mask over their nose while they sleep. The mask is hooked up to a machine that is plugged in, and it works by forcing air into the airway while sleeping. Although effective, CPAP users are typically noncompliant and discontinue its use after only a few months.

There are many reported complaints with the CPAP. It is uncomfortable and restricts movement during sleep. Since the mask is worn over the nose, held in place by a head strap, the patient is unable to roll over and sleep on their side comfortably. Also, the machine is rather noisy, and not only can disrupt the sleep of the person using the machine but the sleep of anyone else in the room as well. Traveling with the CPAP can be cumbersome, making overnight stays inconvenient.

Oral appliance therapy for your sleep apnea

Thankfully, advancements in modern dentistry have brought us oral appliance therapy. This is a simple, yet effective method of treating sleep apnea. Oral appliances are custom made and are adjustable to fit the changing needs of your sleep apnea. When worn, the oral appliance helps by repositioning the lower jaw, which in turn facilitates an open airway. Not only are oral appliances comfortable, they are convenient to travel with, and will not disrupt anyone else’s sleep that is in the bedroom with you.

 If you suffer from sleep deprivation, and sleep apnea is the cause, the problem will not go away on its own. A qualified sleep apnea dentist, such Hartrick Dentistry, should evaluate you. Contact our office at (248) 549-0950 to schedule an appointment.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

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    Dr. Nancy Hartrick, DDS
    32609 Woodward Ave.
    Royal Oak, MI 48073
    Call: 248-549-0950
    Fax: 248-549-1180