Review| Volume 15, ISSUE 4, P635-641, August 2021

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Effects of sleep intervention on glucose control: A narrative review of clinical evidence

Published:April 10, 2021DOI:


      • Sleep deprivation has the potential to decrease insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance throughout the body.
      • No critical role of glucose-counterregulatory hormones in glucose disturbance after 14-days of consecutive sleep deprivation.
      • Increases in sleep duration and sleep quality could improve glucose homeostasis in diabetic patients.



      Optimizing sleep has been recently gained exposure as a promising lifestyle consideration to aid in the control of diabetes. The evidence to support the impact of sleep quantity and quality on blood glucose control is largely acknowledged. This study aimed to review all published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the relationship between sleep and glucose control to synthesize an accurate overview.


      Literature from PubMed and Google Scholar was searched using the listed search terms to obtain RCTs on the role of sleep in glucose homeostasis. Seven RCTs were eligible and included in our review. References in these RCTs were screened for the presentation of the pathophysiology of metabolic disturbances relating to the sleep duration, and the relevant factors affecting blood glucose concentration.


      Sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality are connected with blood glucose disturbance and reduction of insulin sensitivity. This leaves diabetic patients at an increased risk of glucose level fluctuations. However, the function of β-cells was likely to be conserved after 14-days of sleep deprivation. Sleep extension from 7 to 14 days improved blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity in both healthy and diabetes participants. Diabetes sleep education and personalized interventions that reduced stress and improved sleep quality contributed to glucose homeostasis in diabetic patients. Overall improving one’s sleep hygiene was found to improve glucose control in diabetic patients.


      Longer or short-term sleep deprivation may negatively affect glucose homeostasis, although the body temporarily compensates for the impaired function of β-cells when reduced sleep lasted up to 14 days. Thus, we recommend optimum sleep duration and optimistic sleep duration and sleep quality for decreasing risk and progression of diabetes.


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