What Is Prediabetes and What Causes it? Lack of Sleep Is an Unexpected Culprit

Lack-of-Sleep-Is-an-Unexpected-Culprit-of-PrediabetesNew studies show that lack of sleep may be related to prediabetes. Learn how getting enough sleep could help reduce your risk.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes means that a person has impaired fasting glucose, or higher than normal levels of blood sugar. They aren’t yet diagnosed with diabetes, but their glucose levels are considered higher than they should be.

If your fasting blood sugar is between 65 and 99 mg/dL, it is normal, and between 110 and 125 mg/dL is considered in the prediabetes range. If your fasting blood glucose is higher than 126 mg/dL, you’ll be diagnosed with diabetes.Fasting Blood Sugar Levels

Even slightly elevated blood sugar readings can be dangerous, damaging your heart, brain, and more. Prediabetes is a risk factor for diabetes itself, as well as cardiovascular disease. Learn more about prediabetes and the optimal blood sugar range you should shoot for in The “Normal Blood Sugar Range” May Be Misleading You.

So what is prediabetes caused by? One risk factor may be lack of sleep.

Could getting sufficient sleep help reduce your risk for prediabetes?

Several studies have found a link between both sleep quality and quantity with prediabetes. A study published in the journal Sleep Disorder in 2015 looked at data from 982 participants. After controlling for other factors, the researchers found that people with poorer sleep quality had more than a two-fold risk for prediabetes.[1] Similar results have been found in other studies.[2]

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Another study from 2014 followed over 2,000 participants. The results showed that people who slept fewer than five hours per night were more likely to be clinically identified as having prediabetes. Prediabetes risk was also higher for those who had trouble staying asleep at least five times per month, as well as those who woke up too early more than five times per month.[3]

Lack of sleep affects the whole body

Getting sufficient rest through plenty of good, quality sleep is essential for a healthy body. Sleep is now known to help regulate glucose metabolism through a variety of mechanisms.[4]

When sleep is disturbed, our bodies can’t properly control blood sugar, which can lead to higher than normal levels of glucose and prediabetes. If left untreated, these problems can escalate and lead to full-blown diabetes and other health problems.

Sleep problems also impact the body in other ways. Sleep disturbances can lead to brain damage, depression, and trouble losing weight.

Browse our collection of blogs to find helpful tips for getting to sleep and staying asleep. Get started here:

Share your experience

Share your best tips for getting more restful sleep in the comments below. Which strategies work for you, and which don’t?


[1] Sleep Disord. 2015;2015:480742.

[2] Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Apr;78(4):518-24.

[3] Diabet Med. 2013 Jun;30(6):676-80.

[4] Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2015 Mar 24;7:25.

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