Long sleep duration may be protective against type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in cancer survivors, according to a study published in Cancer Management and Research.

Sleep duration has cardiometabolic effects, and patients with cancer are at greater risk for developing T2DM, and vice versa, but whether there is an effect of habitual sleep duration on T2DM risk for survivors of cancer has been unknown.

The researchers examined patient data from 2004 to 2013 from the National Health Interview Survey and categorized patients’ reported habitual sleep durations as short (6 hours or less), long (9 hours or more), or healthy (7 to 8 hours). They performed regression analyses to explore any relationships among cancer, T2DM, and sleep habits. 

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Although both short and long sleep durations showed significant relationships to T2DM in adjusted models (short: OR 1.07, 95% CI, 1.03-1.11, P<.001; and long: OR 1.32, 95% CI, 1.26-1.39, <.001), the sleep patterns differed in cancer survivors. 

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Short sleep duration was associated with T2DM in cancer survivors, although the relationship was nonsignificant (OR 1.08, 95% CI, 0.98-1.19, P=.101). However, long sleep duration had a significant, negative association with T2DM in cancer survivors (OR 0.88, 95% CI, 0.78-0.98, =.027). In addition, it was 12% less likely to be reported in survivors with long sleep durations.

The authors noted that prior studies have shown links between both long and short sleep durations and T2DM risk, but that in the case of cancer survivors, longer sleep may confer a protective benefit against T2DM for reasons not yet understood.


Seixas AA, Gyamfi L, Newsome V, et al. Moderating effects of sleep duration on diabetes risk among cancer survivors: analysis of the National Health Interview Survey in the USACancer Manag Res. 2018;10:4575-4580.