The Impact of Sleep Debt on Excess Adiposity and Insulin Sensitivity in Patients with Early Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Teresa Arora, Mimi Z Chen, Ashley R Cooper, Rob C Andrews, Shahrad Taheri

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We examined cross-sectional and prospective associations between sleep debt and adiposity measures, as well as homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in early type 2 diabetes.


Prospective data analysis from participants of a randomized controlled trial based on an intensive lifestyle intervention (usual care, diet, or diet and physical activity). Data were collected at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months post-intervention. The study was performed across five secondary care centers in the United Kingdom. Patients (n = 593) with a recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes were recruited. Objective height and weight were ascertained for obesity status (body mass index [BMI]; ≥30 kg/m2), waist circumference (cm) for central adiposity, and fasting blood samples drawn to examine insulin resistance. Seven-day sleep diaries were used to calculate weekday sleep debt at baseline, calculated as average weekend sleep duration minus average weekday sleep duration.


At baseline, compared to those without weekday sleep debt, those with weekday sleep debt were 72% more likely to be obese (OR = 1.72 [95%CI:1.03-2.88]). At six months, weekday sleep debt was significantly associated with obesity and IR after adjustment, OR = 1.90 (95%CI:1.10-3.30), OR = 2.07 (95%CI:1.02-4.22), respectively. A further increase at 12 months was observed for sleep debt with obesity and IR: OR = 2.10 (95%CI:1.14-3.87), OR = 3.16 (95%CI:1.38-7.24), respectively. For every 30 minutes of weekday sleep debt, the risk of obesity and IR at 12 months increased by 18% and 41%, respectively.


Sleep debt resulted in long-term metabolic disruption, which may promote the progression of type 2 diabetes in newly diagnosed patients. Sleep hygiene/ education could be an important factor for future interventions to target early diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-680
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date15 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2016


  • insulin resistance
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • sleep debt
  • obesity
  • body mass index
  • waist circumference
  • central adiposity


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