Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Diabetes, Sleep Apnea & REM Sleep

A new study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine links obstructive sleep apnea to type 2 diabetes. It shows that there is an increased risk of diabetes in people who have sleep apnea during rapid eye movement sleep – or “REM sleep.”

The multi-ethnic study involved 1,008 people who were evaluated for sleep apnea; 67 percent were African American, 17 percent were Caucasian and 15 percent were Hispanic. Sleep apnea was diagnosed in 74 percent of participants.

Results show that people with sleep apnea during REM sleep were twice as likely to have type 2 diabetes. The risk of diabetes in middle-aged adults with sleep apnea was increased by almost three times. Overall, 30 percent of the participants with sleep apnea had diabetes.

“Generally, OSA is worse in REM sleep compared to non-REM sleep,” study author Dr. Kamran Mahmood told the AASM. “This may be the reason for closer association of REM-related OSA and type 2 diabetes.”

The study also reports that sleep fragmentation caused by sleep apnea may reduce REM sleep time.

Learn more about
sleep apnea and diabetes. Read more about REM sleep and sleep stages on

Get help for sleep apnea at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.

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