Bed for sale in Dublin department store (Simon Roughneen)

Too much sleep, too little sleep or sleep when you toss and turn and spend half the night staring goggle-eyed at the ceiling: All of these make you more likely to develop diabetes.

That’s going by an examination of 14 years’ worth of patient data by South Korean doctors, which led them to say that getting less than six hours’ shut-eye or more than 10 both appear to increase the likelihood of diabetes.

The researchers collected data from 8,816 participants in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study and during the almost decade-and-a-half follow-up period found that 18% of participants were diagnosed with diabetes.

“Most previous studies did not examine changes in various glycometabolic parameters, like over 14 years. The pattern of changes in various glycemic parameters may provide clues to the mechanism underlying the association between sleep duration and incident diabetes mellitus,” said Wonjin Kim, a doctor at the CHA Gangnam Medical Center and associate professor at CHA University School of Medicine in Seoul.

Kim and colleagues presented their findings at ENDO 2023, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Chicago in mid-June, where delegates will hear about other related research, including on how breastfeeding mothers likely have a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The link between sleep and diabetes has long been known to the medical profession. The US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that ”if you get less than 7 hours of sleep per night regularly, your diabetes will be harder to manage” as it can  “increase insulin resistance” and “make you hungrier the next day and reduce how full you feel after eating.”

But this new research from Korea suggests the greater risk could be linked to sleeping more than 10 hours a day.

Other recent research has suggested that sleep apnea, a condition that causes people to wake dozens of times a night, can worsen health problems, including diabetes, in later life.

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