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Daytime Sleepiness Linked to Type II Diabetes: What You Should Know

Updated on October 24, 2015
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The Afternoon Cat Nap

Are you a sucker for an afternoon nap? Do you find yourself craving your bed when you should be up and alert and functioning at full capacity?

If you have found an increased penchant towards afternoon naps in recent years as an adult, there are a few things of which you should be aware.


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Affecting more than 380 million people around the globe, diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to effectively break down blood sugar. This condition can have a significant impact on one's health ranging from heart disease to stroke to kidney failure to blindness and ultimately death.



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While most people know to keep their naps brief, others will nap for hours on end, and this can be potentially dangerous.

Researchers have found that naps can become habitual, as people will carve out a few minutes to a few hours each day just for sleeping.

This habit however may present a problem. Daytime drowsiness and taking long naps during the day has been linked with increased prevalence of Type 2 diabetes according to recent studies. Researchers at the University of Tokyo reviewed 10 studies including a total of more than 260,000 individuals, looking for links between daytime sleepiness or napping and the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The doctors found that those who felt very sleepy during the day had a 56% higher risk of being diabetic than those who didn’t, while those who took naps of 60 minutes or more had a 46% higher risk of having the condition than those who took no or smaller naps.


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Other Causes of Daytime Sleepiness

Now, although this article focused on Type II Diabetes, it is important to point out that authors of the study did acknowledge that there could be a variety of other causes that lead to excessive sleepiness or daytime napping.

Two conditions identified as potential causes of daytime sleepiness in addition to Type II Diabetes included obstructive sleep apnea and even major depression, both of which have previously been linked to Type II Diabetes.

Sleep disorders in general can be a major contributor to excessive daytime sleepiness. Health conditions that are disruptive to nighttime sleep such as asthma, reflux, heart failure, pain or frequent trips to the bathroom at night to urinate can create the need for a nap. Medications, such as antihistamines, age (i.e. older adults) or settings/environments outside of your normal place of sleep can also lead to your need for a daytime nap.

Ultimately, if one's medical conditions or mental illness disrupts the ability to establish or maintain a sufficient sleep schedule, he/she should consult with their treating physician.

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