Sleep Duration Linked to Increase Risk of Metabolic Disease for Women


There was not an association between sleep duration and metabolic diseases found in men.

Less than 7 hours of sleep can be damaging for women as it increases the likelihood of developing metabolic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, according to new research.

A team, led by Lili Huang, School of Public Health, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, identified the association between short and long sleep duration and the risk of metabolic diseases.

Previous Research

Recent research shows sleep duration could be a factor in metabolic regulation, particularly metabolic rhythm and glucose metabolism. However, the findings at best have been inconsistent and limited because the majority of studies have mainly focused on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

“Sleep duration is the core parameter of sleep, while it is easily disturbed by various factors, including physical and psychosocial factors,” the authors wrote.

In the study, the investigators examined 4922 asymptomatic adults who were part of a national survey in China in 2009. They evaluated the early stage of metabolic disease using 3 proxies—triglyceride to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ration (TG/HDL-C), the product of triglyceride and fasting glucose (TyG), and lipid accumulation product (LAP).

Each participant responded to a questionnaire on their sleep habits and submitted blood samples for analysis. In addition, height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure were measured.

The team implemented multivariable linear and logistic regression models to identify the associations of sleep duration with the 3 proxies.

Sleep Duration

These models show among female participants with less than 7 hours of sleep per day had an increased value of LAP and TyG by 25.232% (95% CI, 10.738-41.623%) and 0.104 (95%CI, 0.024-0.185), respectively, in the crude model compared to females who sleep between 7-9 hours per day.

The effects were lessened, but still significant for LAP (11.405%; 95% CI, 1.613-22.262%).

The results of the logistic regression models were similar to the results of the linear regression models.

Here the investigators found less than 7 hours of sleep per day could increase the risk of elevated LAP (OR, 1.725; 95% CI, 1.042-2.856) after adjusting for multiple covariates.

However, in either model, the investigators did not find any associations among males.

“The relationship between short sleep duration and LAP was still significant among females, even adjustment for multiple covariates,” the authors wrote. “The findings extended the attention to the relationship between sleep duration and early stage of metabolic disease, highlighting the potentiality of sleep intervention in preventing and controlling metabolic disease.”

Future Studies

However, the fact that the associations are more severe for females should warrant future studies on the sex differences.

Abnormal sleep duration is a public health concern as epidemiological data shows associations of sleep duration with clinical metabolic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

However, this may also be a consequence of other comorbidities, including depression, which could confound the relationship between sleep duration and outcomes.

The study, “Sex-specific association of sleep duration with subclinical indicators of metabolic diseases among asymptomatic adults,” was published in Lipids in Health and Disease.

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