Poor sleep may delay wound healing in diabetics

New York: People with Type 2 diabetes who do not sleep well could need more time to have their wounds healed, a new study has found.

In people with Type 2 diabetes, high glucose levels lead to poor blood circulation and nerve damage, making the body more vulnerable to infections, especially after surgery.

Sleep disorders can also weaken the immune system and slow down the healing process.

Sleep disorders and Type 2 diabetes have been intimately connected as it has been widely documented that lack of sleep can create metabolic changes like those seen in patients with insulin resistance.

“This is a public health issue, and we want to contribute to a solution,” said Ralph Lydic, from the University of Tennessee in the US.

The research, appearing in the journal SLEEP, was performed on mice and showed that those with fragmented sleep needed about 13 days for their wounds to achieve 50 per cent healing.

Conversely, even with sleep interruptions, the wounds of normal weight healthy mice reached the same milestone in about five days.

For the experiment, scientists used obese mice with features of Type 2 diabetes and compared them to healthy mice of normal weight.

While deeply anesthetised, both groups of mice got a small surgical wound on the skin of their backs.

The scientists analysed how long it took the wound to heal under two scenarios: a normal sleep schedule and sleep that was repeatedly interrupted.

The researchers observed that overweight mice with Type 2 diabetes and disrupted sleep needed more time to heal skin wounds than mice that also had disrupted sleep but didn’t have type 2 diabetes.

“Next we want to explore the effect that specific drugs have on wound healing in these same groups of mice with disrupted sleep,” Lydic said.