People with Type 2 diabetes who are “night owls,” staying up and being active later at night and waking up later in the morning, report having more symptoms of depression than those who go to bed and wake up early, according to research recently presented at ENDO 2017, the Endocrine Society’s 99th annual meeting.
Depression is a common medical disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts. According to the American Psychiatric Association, symptoms include feeling sad, losing interest in once-enjoyed activities, a changing appetite, difficulties sleeping or sleeping too much, loss of energy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and difficulty thinking or concentrating. Studies have indicated that having diabetes doubles the risk of depression.
Chronotype, or the natural tendency to sleep and be active during certain times of the day, has been found to be related to psychological well-being. To evaluate whether chronotype is related to depression in people with Type 2 diabetes, researchers provided questionnaires to 194 people in the United States and 282 people in Thailand with Type 2. The participants answered questions about symptoms of depression, preferred times for activity and sleep, and sleep quality.
In both groups, “night owls,” who preferred evening activity with later sleep and waking times, reported more symptoms of depression than those who preferred being awake and active in the morning. The results remained even after the researchers adjusted for factors that could affect depression, such as sleep quality, sex, and age.
“These findings are important because depression is common in patients with Type 2 diabetes,” says lead investigator Sirimon Reutrakul, MD. “Also, previous studies show that untreated depression is related to worse patient outcomes, including diabetes self-care, blood glucose control, and diabetes complications.”
According to The American Journal of Managed Care, “The study adds to the evidence that sleep is as important a component of good health as proper diet and exercise.”
The study, Reutrakul notes, does not prove cause and effect. Additional research is needed to learn more about the relationship between circadian rhythms and depression in people with diabetes to determine strategies that can help improve mental health.
For more information, see the Endocrine Society press release “Late Sleep-Wake Time Preference Linked to Depression in Individuals With Diabetes” or the study’s abstract on the ENDO 2017 website. And to learn more about depression and diabetes, read “Depression: Not a Normal Part of Aging,” by clinical psychologist Paula M. Trief, PhD.
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Diane Fennell: Diane Fennell has been an editor at Diabetes Self-Management magazine since 2003. She is currently the Editorial Director. (Diane Fennell is not a medical professional.)
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