The authors urge caution in interpreting the results because they lack details on understanding the association. “[T]he directionality and nature of the association between sleep and night sweats is not clear,” the authors write. “It may be that women who are awake due to sleep disruptions are more likely to notice and report night sweats, conversely symptoms may trigger awakenings.”
The possibility that sleep disturbance mediates the link between VMS and diabetes is further supported by the pattern of sleep disturbances in the study population, according to Dr Gray and colleagues.
“When we examined the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing, insomnia and short sleep duration by VMS characteristics, patterns mirrored the associations with diabetes,” the authors write. “In particular, women reporting night sweats (with or without concomitant hot flashes) had a higher prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing and insomnia, and women reporting late VMS had a higher prevalence of all sleep disturbances compared with the similar prevalence among women without any VMS, reporting only hot flashes, and only early symptoms.”
The authors note that relatively few studies have previously looked at the link between VMS and diabetes and thus far the results have been mixed. However, a Dutch group reported earlier this year that early menopause is linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, and US Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research & Development Program. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.