Sleep complaints and restless legs syndrome in adult type 2 diabetics

Sleep Med. 2001 Sep;2(5):417-22. doi: 10.1016/s1389-9457(01)00110-1.


Objective: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of sleep complaints and restless legs syndrome (RLS) in type 2 adult diabetics. To test the hypothesis that sleep complaints are more common among adult diabetics.

Background: Restless legs syndrome is a common disorder and is a cause of insomnia and daytime somnolence. An association between RLS and diabetes mellitus has been hypothesized but has not been established.

Methods: Consecutive type 2 diabetic patients and controls were subjected to sleep questionnaires, examinations for sensory neuropathy, and laboratory investigations.

Results: Diabetics had higher rates of insomnia (50 vs. 31%, P=0.04) and used more hypnotics (25.9 vs. 6.0%, P=0.02) than controls. The proportion of diabetics with elevated Epworth Sleepiness Scores (> or =12) was higher than controls (15.5 vs.2.1%, P=0.02). The prevalence of RLS among diabetics was not significantly different than in controls (24.1 vs. 12.5%, P=0.1). The prevalence of sensory polyneuropathy was similar in diabetics with and without RLS. Age, BMI, duration and level of diabetes control, hemoglobin, ferritin and creatinine levels did not predict the presence of RLS in diabetics.

Conclusions: Adult type 2 diabetics have higher rates of insomnia, excessive somnolence and hypnotic use than controls. There is no evidence that RLS is significantly more common in adult diabetics.