Review

Citation: Nutrition & Diabetes (2017) 7, e266; doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.19
Published online 8 May 2017

Inadequate sleep as a contributor to type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents
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C Dutil1 and J-P Chaput1

1Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence: Dr J-P Chaput, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L1, Canada. E-mail: jpchaput@cheo.on.ca

Received 20 December 2016; Revised 4 March 2017; Accepted 20 March 2017

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Abstract

Lack of sleep is a modifiable risk factor for adverse health in humans. Short sleep duration and poor sleep quality are common in the pediatric population; the largest decline in sleep duration over the past decades has been seen in children and adolescents. The objective of the present narrative review was to provide for the first time an overview of the literature on sleep and its association with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) biomarkers in children and adolescents. For this narrative review, 23 studies were retained (21 observational and 2 experimental studies). Notwithstanding the conflicting results found in these studies and despite being attenuated by adiposity level, maturity, sex and age, there is still some compelling evidence for an association between sleep duration (for both objective or subjective measurements of duration) and architecture with one or more T2D biomarkers in children and adolescents. The majority of the studies reviewed did focus on sleep duration and one or more T2D biomarkers in children and adolescents, but sleep architecture, more precisely the suppression of slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep, has also been shown to be associated with insulin resistance. Only two studies looked at sleep quality, and the association between sleep quality and insulin resistance was not independent of level of adiposity. Future experimental studies will help to better understand the mechanisms linking insufficient sleep with T2D. Work also needs to be carried out on finding novel and effective strategies aimed at improving sleep hygiene and health outcomes of children and adolescents.

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