RESEARCH NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND : Diabetes with irregular sleep schedules that diverge from their internal body clocks may be at increased risk for dangerously high blood sugar, a small study suggests.

Much as jetting across time zones can force a person to wake-up, eat and work at times that can conflict with their body's idea of what time it is, so called social jet lag happens ''when social pressures like work or school cause people  to be active at times that conflict with their natural internal clock.

In the study, researchers measured social jet lag by tracking the degree of to which people followed one sleep schedule on work days and another on days off.

The study team found that diabetics who had social jet lag of more than 90 minutes tended to have higher blood sugar than their counterparts who didn't experience as much variation in their bedtimes and wakeup times on work days and non-work days.

''A general piece of advice, not only for patients with diabetes but for everyone, is to try to live our lives in harmony with our circadian clock as much as possible,'' said Andrew Coogan, senior author of the study and a researcher at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

''Unfortunately for many this is very difficult,'' Coogan said by email.
''If we have to be at work for 8.30 am and have an hour to commute, then we simply have to get up at 7 a.m., although at the weekend we might not wake until after 9 a.m.''

Some previous research has linked what's known as an evening chronotype - or a preference for being awake late at night - with an increased risk of poor blood sugar control with diabetes, researchers note in Sleep Medicine.

All the patients in the current study in the current study had type 2 Diabetes, which is associated with obesity and ageing and happens when the body can;t properly use or make enough of the hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy.

Almost two-thirds of the patients were obese, and one in four were had severe obesity. Half of them had lived with diabetes for at least seven years.

At the start of the study, many of the participants had poorly controlled diabetes based on  blood tests  that show the percentage of hemoglobin ' a molecule : on red blood cells] that is coated with sugar.

These so-called hemoglobin AIc levels reflect average blood sugar levels over two or three months. Readings above 6.5 signal diabetic, and and half of the patients in the study had readings of at least 6.9 which is considered poorly controlled blood sugar. [Agencies].


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