Sleep Efficiency in Diabetes Patients Associated with Cognitive Functioning - European Medical Journal

Sleep Efficiency in Diabetes Patients Associated with Cognitive Functioning

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REDUCED cognitive function is strongly associated with lower sleep efficiency in people with diabetes and prediabetes, according to research from the University of Chicago at Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, USA. The findings suggest that developing methods for improving sleep in these patients could reduce their risk of dementia.

Sleep and Cognitive Function

Previous research has displayed a link between cognitive impairment and diabetes, as well as cognitive impairment and sleep disturbances, which are commonly observed in diabetes patients. In a cohort of 162 participants with an average age of 54.8 years (81 with Type 2 diabetes and 81 with prediabetes), the researchers investigated the relationship between sleep and cognitive function.


Using an actigraph, which measures motion and is worn on the wrist, sleep duration and sleep efficiency data over a 7-day period were analysed. Sleep was considered to take place during periods when no motion was recorded by the actigraph. To measure cognitive function, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was utilised; each participant was also assessed for obstructive sleep apnoea.

Sleep Efficiency

The average duration of sleep was found to be 6 hours per night and the average sleep efficiency 82.7%; this is the proportion of time in bed spent sleeping. The team discovered that those pre-diabetes and diabetes patients with higher sleep efficiency had better cognitive function scores. Additionally, having diabetes was associated with lower cognitive function scores. However, no relationship between cognitive function and duration of sleep, as well as severity of diagnosed sleep apnoea, was observed.

“The cognitive effects of poor sleep quality are worse for this population, which we know is already at risk for developing cognitive impairment as a result of having diabetes,” commented Dr Sirimon Reutrakul, University of Chicago at Illinois.

Further Studies

The findings could lead to the development of new strategies to improve cognitive function in diabetes patients, and ultimately reduce their risk of dementia onset. “Our study shows that lower sleep efficiency is independently associated with lower cognitive function in patients with abnormal glucose tolerance,” added Dr Reutrakul. “Further studies should look at whether helping these patients sleep better could improve cognitive function.”


James Coker, Reporter

For the source and further information about the study, click here.


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