Hospitalists’ Research Analyzes Links between Hyperglycemia, Sleep Deprivation


An RIV poster presented at HM15 highlights a common problem hospitalists face: morning hyperglycemia in hospitalized patients, including patients not previously diagnosed with diabetes.1 Lead author Regina Heyl DePietro, BA, now a medical student at Stony Brook (N.Y.) School of Medicine, working with colleagues including David O. Meltzer, MD, PhD, MHM, and Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP, FHM, at the University of Chicago, gathered data to analyze the connections among sleep deprivation, diabetes, and hyperglycemia of hospitalization.

Prior epidemiologic and laboratory research has shown a correlation between hyperglycemia and impaired sleep, DePietro says, but she is not aware of any inpatient cohort study done on this subject. Although diabetic patients have worse morning fasting glucose measures, the correlation between poor quality and quantity of sleep and higher blood glucose levels is also present in patients not previously diagnosed with diabetes.

In her study, participating patients reported their sleep quality prior to hospitalization, while wrist actigraphy measured the duration and efficiency of their sleep in the hospital. Every hour of inpatient sleep loss raised the odds of elevated subsequent morning blood glucose rates by 17%.

Every hour of inpatient sleep loss raised the odds of elevated subsequent morning blood glucose rates

by 17%.

“Sleep helps healing,” DePietro says. “Sleep deprivation is a preventable patient quality metric that we have shown affects a health measure.”

Based on additional research, hospitals could take behavioral and/or design measures to help ameliorate this problem.


  1. DePietro RH, Spampinato LM, Knutson KL, Cauter EV, Meltzer DO, Arora VM. Hyperglycemia of hospitalization: side effect of sleep deprivation? [abstract] Society of Hospital Medicine Annual Meeting 2015. Accessed September 12, 2015.

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