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Poor Sleep Efficiency Linked to Decreased Cognitive Function in Diabetics, Prediabetics

Previous studies have linked diabetes with cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia. A recent study suggests that people with diabetes and prediabetes who have lower sleep efficiency may have poorer cognitive function, when compared with people who have better sleep efficiency. Sleep efficiency is a measure of how much time spent in bed is time spent actually sleeping.


Participants in the study included 162 people, 182 of whom had type 2 diabetes and 81 of whom had prediabetes, with an average age of 54.8 years. The researchers used seven-day actigraphy recordings to determine sleep duration and sleep efficiency. An actigraph is a device worn on the wrist that measures motion. In sleep studies, the time that a person is not in motion is considered periods of sleep. The researchers used the Montreal Cognitive Assessment to measure cognitive function. All of the participants were assessed for obstructive sleep apnea.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the average sleep duration was six hours per night. The average sleep efficiency was 82.7%, which means that 82.7% of time spent in bed was spent in sleep.


They also found that duration of sleep and the severity of obstructive sleep apnea were not related to cognitive function. However, better sleep efficiency was correlated with better cognitive function scores for both diabetic and prediabetic participants. In addition, having diabetes was associated with lower cognitive function score.


Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 6, 2018, in Acta Diabetologica.


Some methods to try to improve your sleep include eating less high fat foods, eliminating “blue light” (such as the light from your phone) just before bed, eliminating caffeine before bed time, and increasing exercise levels.

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