Behavioral Intervention Improves Sleep in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes

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Behavioral Intervention Improves Sleep in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes

Adults with type 1 diabetes who participated in a sleep-oriented behavioral intervention had improved sleep outcomes and less blood glucose variability, according to a new study published in the journal The Science of Diabetes Self-Management and Care.

The importance of good sleep to a number of different health outcomes has become increasingly clear in recent years — so much that the American Heart Association added sleep as a major lifestyle category that people should pay attention to. Getting less sleep is linked to a greater risk of having multiple chronic diseases. Poor sleep quality is linked to greater distress in young adults with type 1 diabetes, and sleep duration has been linked to the risk of dying in adults with type 2 diabetes. A longer sleep duration is also linked to lower calorie consumption, may reduce the risk of developing diabetes, and may lower blood glucose in people with diabetes.

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For the latest study, 14 adults with type 1 diabetes were randomly assigned to either a behavioral sleep intervention group or a comparison group that received general advice about healthy living. The sleep intervention program lasted eight weeks, and consisted of digital lessons on sleep behaviors and participating in weekly phone calls with a trained sleep coach. Participants in both groups wore a sleep tracking device and a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, and completed survey questions about their sleep experience, fatigue, diabetes distress, and mood.

Sleep intervention linked to increased sleep time, lower glucose variability

Among participants who started out with short or irregular sleep, participating in the sleep intervention increased their average nightly sleep time by 25 minutes. It also reduced blood glucose variation by an average of 3.2% and increased time in their target glucose range by an average of 6.9%, compared with similar members of the comparison group. When it came to survey questions, reports of fatigue and depressive mood improved only in the sleep intervention group.

In an article on the study at Healio, the researchers noted that while sleep disruption is common in adults with type 1 diabetes, there isn’t much evidence to support interventions that improve sleep outcomes. In addition to improving sleep outcomes, the latest intervention was rated positively by participants — receiving an average score of 6.2 out of 7 points for usability and 6.1 out of 7 for content and structure.

The researchers concluded that the mostly digital and phone-based sleep intervention used in the study is “feasible, acceptable, and promising for further evaluation as a means to improve sleep duration or regularity in the population of people with type 1 diabetes.”

Want to learn more about sleeping well with diabetes? Read “Getting the Sleep You Need,” “Eating for Better Sleep” and “Feeling Fatigued: Here’s How to Fight It.”

Living with type 1 diabetes? Check out our free type 1 e-course!

Quinn Phillips

Quinn Phillips

Quinn Phillips on social media

A freelance health writer and editor based in Wisconsin, Phillips has a degree from Harvard University. He is a former Editorial Assistant for Diabetes Self-Management and has years of experience covering diabetes and related health conditions. Phillips writes on a variety of topics, but is especially interested in the intersection of health and public policy.

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