CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University is studying the relationship sleep has in better controlling Type 1 diabetes for young adults living on their own for the first time.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, lifelong condition that is often diagnosed in childhood or earlier than its counterpart, Type 2 diabetes.
“We know that sleep is important for all of us, of course, but we believe that this group of young adults is unique for this study and we believe that we can help,” said Stephanie Griggs, assistant professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, who is leading the research.
Griggs and her colleague will equip a group of young adults with Type 1 diabetes and other criteria with several simple, but critical methods to getting more restful sleep.
She said sleep helps restore the mind and body and repairs blood vessels and regulates blood sugar, which is critical for a person with diabetes.
Griggs also said the research is important because this is the first study that looks at how sleep and diabetes affect 18 to 30-year-olds.
“This is a 24/7 condition that they didn’t ask for, and as one of the participants in my research said: ‘I have my whole life to have diabetes—but I’m only in college once," she said.
Forty-eight participants who have had Type 1 diabetes for at least six months and living on their own for the first time will be enrolled in the study. Researchers will recommend that participants limit “blue-light” devices like cell phones at night and avoid caffeine consumption late in the day.
John Huynh, a Type 1 diabetic and a researcher at Case, was diagnosed in the second grade. He is now helping researchers with the study.
"And especially for Type 1 diabetics, it can be especially hard to navigate the adult world while trying to get sleep," he said.
Participants' sleep patterns will be monitored over the course of three months. The work is supported by a three-year, $728,912 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research.
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