HeConnection-SleepJuveniles with Type 1 Diabetes often have a bit to contend with as far as managing and living with the effects of the condition, but it appears many of them also struggle with disordered sleep, a new study seems to suggest.

The study was published in the medical publication Sleep, and it contrasted a group of 50 ten-year-old to sixteen-year-old Type 1 Diabetics with a same-sized group of kids unaffected by the illness. What the study discovered was that even if kids adhered to recommendations about keeping their blood sugar in check, some still suffered from sleep disruptions. Principal investigator Michelle Perfect, PhD, explained:

Despite adhering to recommendations for good diabetic health, many youth with Type 1 diabetes have difficulty maintaining control of their blood sugars… We found that it could be due to abnormalities in sleep, such as daytime sleepiness, lighter sleep and sleep apnea. All of these make it more difficult to have good blood sugar control.”

Sleep apnea is typically found in those with Type 2 Diabetes, but researchers discovered that about one-third of the children in the first group suffered from sleep apnea. The children who suffered sleep apnea had correspondingly higher blood sugar levels.

In turn, the kids suffering the effects of disordered sleep- spending more time in what’s known as N2 sleep and less time in N3 sleep- also experienced some behavioral problems linked to sleep disruption.

Perfect explains: “More time (%) spent in stage N2 related to higher glucose levels/hyperglycemia, behavioral difficulties, reduced quality of life, lower grades, depression, sleep-wake behavior problems, poor sleep quality, sleepiness, and lower state standardized math scores.”

Perfect says the links “need to be looked at again.”

Health-e-Solutions comment: This is revealing. Several people with whom we have talked say their type 1 diabetic child has trouble getting a full night’s sleep. Our two boys have trouble sleeping through the entire night. Difficulty sleeping runs strong in our family, but never this young. We have not yet solved this problem with our two boys, but they do not show any of the daytime symptoms in the above article. They seem to have plenty of energy and mental acuity.