Impact of circadian disruption on glucose metabolism: implications for type 2 diabetes

Diabetologia. 2020 Mar;63(3):462-472. doi: 10.1007/s00125-019-05059-6. Epub 2020 Jan 8.


The circadian system generates endogenous rhythms of approximately 24 h, the synchronisation of which are vital for healthy bodily function. The timing of many physiological processes, including glucose metabolism, are coordinated by the circadian system, and circadian disruptions that desynchronise or misalign these rhythms can result in adverse health outcomes. In this review, we cover the role of the circadian system and its disruption in glucose metabolism in healthy individuals and individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus. We begin by defining circadian rhythms and circadian disruption and then we provide an overview of circadian regulation of glucose metabolism. We next discuss the impact of circadian disruptions on glucose control and type 2 diabetes. Given the concurrent high prevalence of type 2 diabetes and circadian disruption, understanding the mechanisms underlying the impact of circadian disruption on glucose metabolism may aid in improving glycaemic control.

Keywords: Beta cell function; Circadian disruption; Circadian misalignment; Circadian rhythm; Diabetes; Glucose control; Glucose metabolism; Glucose tolerance; Insulin sensitivity; Review; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism / physiology
  • Chronobiology Disorders / complications*
  • Chronobiology Disorders / epidemiology
  • Chronobiology Disorders / metabolism
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose