Sleep Deprivation Prolongs Cognitive Impairment Induced by Hypoglycemia

(HealthDay News) – Sleep deprivation does not exacerbate cognitive impairment induced by hypoglycemia, but the post-hypoglycemia recovery takes longer with persistence of both cognitive dysfunction and hypoglycemia symptoms, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Berit E. Inkster, from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed 14 adults with type 1 diabetes who underwent a hyperinsulinemic, hypoglycemic clamp on 2 separate occasions. Before 1 clamp, participants were sleep-deprived.

The researchers found that cognitive impairment during hypoglycemia did not differ significantly between the sleep-deprived and nonsleep-deprived conditions. Digit symbol substitution scores and choice reaction times were significantly poorer during recovery in the sleep-deprived state and hypoglycemia symptom scores were significantly higher even when symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as tiredness, were removed.

“People with diabetes should be advised that exposure to hypoglycemia while suffering from sleep deprivation could prolong the impairment of cognitive function considerably, despite prompt restoration of normoglycemia,” the authors write.


  1. Inkster BE, Zammit NN, Ritchie SJ, et al. Effects of sleep deprivation on hypoglycemia-induced cognitive impairment and recovery in adults with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2016. doi:10.2337/dc15-2335.