Sleeping problems linked to much higher risk of diabetes

Harvard researchers believe women who have chronic sleep problems may have an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Analysing sleep patterns, the Harvard researchers identified a number of problems, for example trouble falling or staying asleep, getting less than six hours of sleep, frequent snoring, sleep apnea or shift work and long haul flying. (Jan. 28, Diabetologia.)

Women with 4 of these problems had a 4-fold  increased risk of type-2 diabetes

Even trouble falling or staying asleep all or most of the time meant a 45 percent greater odds of developing type 2 diabetes.

"Women with sleeping difficulty, especially when also having other conditions, should be aware of potential higher risk of diabetes," said lead researcher Dr. Yanping Li, a research scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

All this begs the question, 'Why?'

And research increasingly shows that gut bacteria are strongly involved. Several hormones affect mood and sleeping patterns - dopamine, serotonin, melatonin and GABA. All were thought to be produced exclusively in the brain. Now they have been shown to be produced by the bacteria in your gut as well. You don't sleep well? It could be a problem with your gut microbiome. Loss of these hormones has even been linked to leaky gut syndrome and that can be the start of chronic illnesses. It's a two way street.

The human microbiome is affected by circadian rhythms - it follows a pattern of when it expects to eat, and what it does while you sleep. It is affected by circadian rhythms, and it affects them in your body. It's another two way street.

Your gut microbiome thus greatly influences your metabolism. Having the 'wrong' bacteria present in your gut has been shown to influence weight control and obesity, and sugar control and diabetes risk.