Sleep & Diabetes: Does the Risk Rise at Night?

By , Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist

A new study published in Cell Metabolism shows that up to 30 percent of people could have a higher sensitivity to melatonin, the sleepiness-inducing hormone that reduces the production of insulin. This is caused by a change to a melatonin receptor gene—the MTNR1B gene—that reduces the amount of insulin released by the pancreas, which makes the person more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

It's important to note that MTNR1B isn't the only gene that makes people more susceptible to type 2 diabetes—in fact, there are hundreds. However, the study found that those with two copies of the gene have more melatonin receptors than those who have one or no copies.

During the study, non-diabetics were separated into two groups: One with the MTNR1B risk gene variant and one without. All participants took the same amount of a melatonin supplement every night. By the end of the three-month study period, the people who were lacking the risk gene had three times as much insulin as those who had it.

"We don't typically eat or are physically active at night, so our energy demands drop and we don't need maximum insulin secretion," says study author Hindrik Mulder of Lund University in Sweden and Leif Groop. "A likely explanation is that, as melatonin levels rise, they tell our beta cells not to release as much insulin."

This doesn't necessarily mean that people with MTNR1B can't ever take melatonin, but it does suggest that they might want to avoid prolonged use, according to authors of the study.

What do you think about the possible link between melatonin and type 2 diabetes?


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Comments

PWILLOW1 2/28/2021
Interesting. But no further studies since 2016? Report
SNOOPYPAL2019 10/4/2020
How about a follow-up, or an update to this article??? This reads like a teaser - I'd like more information about the study - how many participants, was there any long-term follow-up done on the participants?

I clicked on the link to the study report. It's not much of a study.

"Mulder and Groop then tested their hypothesis on 23 non-diabetic people with the MTNR1B risk gene variant and 22 people without. They asked each person to take 4 milligrams of melatonin (about the amount found in commercial pills) at bedtime for three months. By the end of the study, individuals without the risk gene variant had three times the level of insulin secretion than those with the gene variant."

and,
"The researchers say that this doesn't mean that the occasional melatonin pill is necessarily dangerous for the one in three people with the MTNR1B risk gene variant or that anyone should rush out and get a genetic test to see if they are carriers. "This is just a hypothesis, but I think it raises questions that maybe prolonged use of melatonin is not so harmless," Mulder says."

The above quotes are from the study report. 45 people is NOT a large enough population. There's no information about any further studies. Report
NEPTUNE1939 7/22/2020
ty Report
TURQUROISE 6/10/2020
wonderful information that I have not found anywhere else! Report
ATHENA2010 5/28/2020
Interesting, especially since I have sleeping problems. Have to check this out. Report
MONIFA268 4/13/2020
Great article thanks for sharing Report
thanks for sharing Report
I sometimes take melatonin for insomnia, used to use it frequently; now retired not so much. My A1C remains about the same so maybe I don't have that groups of gene's? Does that mean Drs should do genetic testing before suggesting or allowing patients to use melatonin or other drugs? Having allergies limits options. This article should open dialogue w/ one's medical professional but not scare people away from what helps them. Melatonin is safe in low dosages (1-3mg) & when used short-term. It loses effectiveness rapidly when taken daily for more than a month or 6 wks. There are other alternatives like valerian root, or upping one's magnesium intake (balanced w/ calcium & potassium.) Report
I sometimes take melatonin for insomnia, used to use it frequently; now retired not so much. My A1C remains about the same so maybe I don't have that groups of gene's? Does that mean Drs should do genetic testing before suggesting or allowing patients to use melatonin or other drugs? Having allergies limits options. This article should open dialogue w/ one's medical professional but not scare people away from what helps them. Melatonin is safe in low dosages (1-3mg) & when used short- Report
I sometimes take melatonin for insomnia, used to use it frequently; now retired not so much. My A1C remains about the same so maybe I don't have that groups of Gene's? Report
interesting info-thank-yu Report
NASFKAB
Thank you Report
Hmmmm . . . this is important information to me as a type 2 diabetic. Thank you. Report
Interesting article. Report
Interesting. My husband has been taking melatonin regularly and his blood sugar has gone up. I will certainly be sharing this article with him. Report
CD10676776
Very interesting article, thanks! Report
Thanks for the interesting article! :) Report
Being diabetic 2, I am interested in any article about my disease and how I may control it Report
As a person with Type II and taking Melatonin on a nightly basis, I will be watching for more research. I'll also try chamomile and other relaxants to help me in the evening! Report
CD23398155
good to know I am borderline diabetic thanks Report
...my last job was stressful as well as chaotic...never know when i was getting off...lots of times got very little sleep...then out of nowhere diabetes...so maybe??? Report
Great info Report
Very interesting! Report
Hadn't put this one together with Diabetes. Report
NASFKAB
Great useful blog Report
TWO DRs told me to get better sleep. I have been sleeping better but my FBS is often higher in the morning.
I will take a month off using MELATONIN and check my FBS every morning. Pat in Maine. We shall see.!! Report
be careful what you take. sleep should be normal, not pill induced. Report
Melatonin isn't safe for everyone, it also interferes with certain Meds people take on a regular basis. That's why you need to ask your doctor before taking over the counter stuff. Quit thinking supplements are ok just because they are easily available or the latest fad! Report
MUKESHNEGI
I think doing exercise for half and hour is best for everyone.

www.govtjobsinuttarakhand.in Report
What? I was under the impression from earlier research and articles that melatonin to help one sleep to PREVENT diabetes. I'm still in the pre-diabetes stage but we have been taking melantonin under this apparently mistaken belief?? Report
LETSFOOTY
Sports is also good for you thats why many sports personality are fit and fine
check sports schedule: www.euro2016cup.com/euro-2016-fixtu
res
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