Seven Hours of Sleep May Be Optimal for People with or without Diabetes: Study
Tue, April 20, 2021

Seven Hours of Sleep May Be Optimal for People with or without Diabetes: Study



A total of seven hours of sleep appears to be the new gold standard, according to a recent study. Researchers found that getting seven hours of quality sleep could reduce the risk of all-cause mortality.

A total of seven hours of sleep as the new gold standard was suggested by an international team of researchers. They found that seven hours could be enough to decrease the risk of mortality, compared to other total hours. The same total sleep hours could reduce the risk of death among people with type 2 diabetes. They published their findings in the journal Diabetologia.


The Importance of Sleep Hygiene

Sleep is a critical part of the human body. By sleeping, the body is given time to make cleanups and repairs. The central nervous system removes unwanted substances from the brain, while the rest of the body repairs tissues. Within several hours, the body tunes itself up to be ready for another adventure the next morning. But how many hours does a person need to achieve quality sleep?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a non-profit organization, a person must develop good sleep hygiene. This is the measure of the total hours of quality sleep per 24 hours. However, the total sleep hours depend on the person's age. Babies and younger children sleep longer than teenagers and adults. As such, sleep hygiene includes correct practices to obtain quality sleep every night. Basically, good sleep hygiene indicates putting oneself in the best position to sleep well.

Statista, a German portal for statistics, showed the sleeping habits of adults in certain countries. In the survey between January 9 and 28, 2019, among 11,006 respondents, 80% of adults said they want to improve their sleep quality. That was followed by 67% who wake up at least once during the night, 64% who have different sleep scheduled on the weekends, 63% who sleep longer on weekends to catch more sleep, 59% who have a consistent bedtime routine, 58% who sleep worse when away from home, 34% who can fall asleep somewhere, and 20% who have a pet that sleeps on their bed.

Meanwhile, a different survey revealed the sleep problems of US college students. The survey conducted in the fall of 2019 with 38,457 students showed that 23.1% had a problem sleeping for one day in the last seven days. About 14.3% had sleeping difficulty for the two days, 8.5% for three days, 5.2% for four days, 5.3% for five days, 2.8% for six days, and 7.2% for seven days of the last seven days.

Because the world is moving too fast, many teenagers and young adults have difficulties in getting quality sleep. Even if they have good sleep hygiene, they may still be prone to sleep deprivation from time to time due to hectic schedules.



New Gold Standard: Seven Hours of Sleep

Recently, an international team of researchers investigated the total hours of sleep people with type 2 diabetes need. They found that these individuals need a total of seven hours of sleep per 24 hours. Anything higher or lower than seven hours could be detrimental to their health. Moreover, the total sleep hours were associated with individuals that do not have the illness. The data suggested that getting seven hours of sleep would lower the risk of overall mortality, compared to other total sleep hours.

"This study provides preliminary evidence that the associations between sleep duration and mortality are different between people with and without diabetes," researchers said, quoted the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, a scientific association founded in Italy.

Researchers highlighted that too much or too little sleep was linked by earlier studies to early mortality. So, they investigated the same link with diabetes present as a factor. They examined the data of 273,029 adults who participated in the US National Health Interview Survey, between 2004 and 2013. Out of that, 248,817 had no diabetes and 24,212 had type 2 diabetes. They also included the mortality data up to the end of 2015.

Researchers measured sleep hours using self-reported information from participants. Next, they analyzed the relationship between sleep hours and mortality using a computer model. The model included the adjustments for body mass index, clinical variables, demographic factors, and lifestyle behaviors. Then, they compared the mortality rate in people with diabetes to people without, and to different total hours of sleep.



Results showed that mortality was higher among people with type 2 diabetes, regardless of sleep hours, compared to people without the illness. But the total sleep hours between people with type 2 diabetes had significant differences. People with the illness who sleep for seven hours regularly had a mortality rate of 138 per 10,000 person-years. That was lower than those with type 2 diabetes and slept for five hours or less at 215 per 10,000 person-years. The rate was even lower compared to those with type 2 diabetes and slept for 10 hours or more at 364 per 10,000 person-years.

With seven hours as a baseline, researchers used it to compare the mortality risk between people with and without type 2 diabetes. Comparisons showed an increased risk of 42% for seven hours of sleep, 63% for five hours of sleep or less, and 2.2 times for 10 hours of sleep or less among people with type 2 diabetes. Between individuals without diabetes, the pattern was also identified yet less pronounced. The death rates were 78 per 10,000 person-years for seven hours of sleep, 122 for five hours of sleep or less, and 256 for 10 hours of sleep or more. The increased risk of death was 33% for five hours of sleep or less and 90% for ten hours or more, compared to seven hours of sleep.

Although the findings provided insights, researchers clarified that sleep is a complex phenomenon. To better understand the connection of sleep hours to diabetes and mortality risk, additional studies that include sleep intervention must be done. Sleep intervention may have potential therapeutic benefits, especially for those with diabetes and those having problems sleeping.