A university study of 20,000 Chinese adults aged 50 and older says that people who nap four to six days a week have a higher rate of type 2 diabetes than people who either never take a daily snooze or do so less often.
Researchers found that adults in the study who napped four to six days a week were 36 percent more likely to have diabetes than study members who never napped. Despite the connection, however, the researchers are not certain that napping itself causes the nappers’ higher proportion of type 2. One of the possibilities they cite for a link between napping and diabetes is that people in poor health, which includes people with diabetes, simply may be more inclined to nap. On the other hand, napping, which they cite as a cultural norm in China among people of all ages, may disrupt the body’s normal rhythms or cause stress upon waking that alters how the body uses blood sugar–something that over time could lead to diabetes.
Although the study does suggest a link between napping and diabetes, the researchers, based at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, say that any conclusive study will have to cover a significant span of years and include frequent nappers who are diabetes-free at the start.
The study has been published in the journal Sleep.
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