Type 2 diabetes

Why people with T2D should have an early night

Being a ‘morning person’ takes on special significance for people with type 2 diabetes, according to an Australian study that found ‘evening chronotypes’ are likely to have worse metabolic risks.

Researchers at the University of South Australia (UniSA) assessed the bedtime preferences (sleep chronotypes) of people with type 2 diabetes, and found that those who go to bed early are more likely to be in better health and more physically active compared to night owls.

Published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, the study involved 635 patients with type 2 diabetes, each wearing an accelerometer for seven days to record the intensity and time of different physical behaviours: sleep, rest, overall physical  activity.

It found that 25% of participants had morning chronotypes (a preference to go to be early and get up early, with an average bedtime of 11:50pm); 23% had evening chronotypes (a preference to go to bed late and get up late, with an average bedtime of 12.36am); and 52% were defined as intermediate.

Evening chronotypes had an extra 30 minutes of sedentary time per day and 10 minutes less  moderate-to vigorous physical activity compared to morning chronotypes. Evening chronotypes also had an overall lower intensity of activity, and tended to be active later in the day.

Study co-author Dr Alex Rowlands of the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), Sansom Institute for Health Research, says the study provides a unique insight into how people’s sleep time preferences can impact their level of physical activity – and may help people with type 2 diabetes better manage their health.

“The link between later sleep times and physical activity is clear: go to bed late and you’re less likely to be active,” Dr Rowlands says.

“As sleep chronotypes are potentially modifiable, these findings provide an opportunity to change your lifestyle for the better, simply by adjusting your bedtime.”

“For someone with diabetes, this is valuable information that could help get them back on a path to good health.”

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