(HealthDay News) — The correlation between sleep-disordered breathing and glucose metabolism varies for rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep, according to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Hassan A. Chami, MD, from the American University of Beirut, and colleagues characterized the association between REM-related sleep-disordered breathing, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance in a community-based sample of 3310 participants. 

The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was used to quantify sleep-disordered breathing severity during REM (AHIREM) and non-REM (AHINREM) sleep. A glucose tolerance test assessed fasting and 2-hour post-challenge glucose levels in 2264 participants; the homeostatic model assessment index for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was measured for 1543 participants.

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The researchers found that in models that adjusted for age, sex, race, and site, AHIREM and AHINREM correlated with fasting glycemia, postprandial glucose levels, and HOMA-IR. AHIREM was only associated with HOMA-IR and AHINREM was only associated with fasting and postprandial glucose levels after further adjustment for BMI, waist circumference, and sleep duration.

“AHIREM is associated with insulin resistance but not with fasting glycemia or glucose intolerance,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Chami HA, Gottlieb DJ, Redline S, Punjabi NM. Association between Glucose Metabolism and Sleep-disordered Breathing during REM Sleep. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2015;192(9):1118-1126.