High Incidence of Diabetes in Men With Sleep Complaints or Short Sleep Duration

A 12-year follow-up study of a middle-aged population

  1. Lena Mallon, MD, PHD1,
  2. Jan-Erik Broman, PHD1 and
  3. Jerker Hetta, MD, PHD2
  1. 1Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. 2Karolinska Institutet, Neurotec/Psychiatry, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Sweden
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Lena Mallon, MD, PhD, Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail: lena.mallon{at}ltdalarna.se


OBJECTIVE—The aim of this study was to investigate the possible relationship among sleep complaints, sleep duration, and the development of diabetes prospectively over a 12-year period in a middle-aged Swedish population.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—A random sample of 2,663 subjects aged 45–65 years living in mid-Sweden were sent a postal questionnaire including questions about sleep complaints, sleep duration, sociodemographic characteristics, behavioral risk factors, medical conditions, and depression (response rate 70.2%). Twelve years later, a new questionnaire with almost identical questions was sent to all the survivors (n = 1,604) in 1995, and the questionnaire was answered by 1,244 subjects (77.6%).

RESULTS—Men reporting new diabetes at follow-up more often reported short sleep duration (≤5 h per night) (16.0 vs. 5.9%, P < 0.01), difficulties initiating sleep (16.0 vs. 3.1%, P < 0.001), and difficulties maintaining sleep (28.0 vs. 6.3%, P < 0.001) at baseline than men who did not develop diabetes. Women reporting new diabetes at follow-up reported long sleep duration (≥9 h per night) more often at baseline than women not developing diabetes (7.9 vs. 2.4%, P < 0.05). In multiple logistic regression models, the relative risk (95% CI) for development of diabetes was higher in men with short sleep duration (2.8 [1.1–7.3]) or difficulties maintaining sleep (4.8 [1.9–12.5]) after adjustment for age and other relevant risk factors. Short or long sleep duration or sleep complaints did not influence the risk of new diabetes in women.

CONCLUSIONS—Difficulties maintaining sleep or short sleep duration (≤5 h) are associated with an increased incidence of diabetes in men.


  • A table elsewhere in this issue shows conventional and Système International (SI) units and conversion factors for many substances.

    • Accepted July 26, 2005.
    • Received January 19, 2005.
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