In a study of 90 adults with type 2 diabetes, female gender, elevated blood sugar levels, neuropathic pain, and fatigue were related to sleep disturbance, even after controlling for factors such as age, diabetes duration, depressive symptoms, and distress.

The findings, published in Journal of Advanced Nursing, suggest that clinicians should pay extra attention to females when conducting sleep-related assessments. A comprehensive sleep evaluation should also include diabetes-related symptoms such as neuropathic pain and fatigue.

“Sleep disturbance in patients with diabetes is common and may negatively affect blood glucose,” says senior author Cynthia Fritschi, PhD, RN, CDE, of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, in a release. “A thorough sleep assessment, especially in female adults, must include a symptom assessment. To do otherwise limits our ability to treat sleep disturbance effectively in this population.”