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The association between self-reported lack of sleep, low vitality and impaired glucose tolerance: a Swedish cross-sectional study

Susanne Andersson12, Inger Ekman13, Febe Friberg14, Erik Bøg-Hansen5 and Ulf Lindblad56*

Author affiliations

1 Institute of Health and Care Sciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy of the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

2 School of Life Sciences, University of Skövde, P.O. Box 408, 54128, Skövde, Sweden

3 Centre for Person-Centred Care (GPCC), University of Gothenburg, P.O. Box 4571405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

4 Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Health, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway

5 Institute of Medicine, Department of Primary Health Care, The Sahlgrenska Academy of the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

6 The Department of primary health care, University of Gothenburg, Box 154, Gothenburg 405 30, Sweden

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:700  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-700

Published: 31 July 2013



The increased incidence of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), are serious public health issues, and several studies link sleeping disorders with increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance (IR). This study explore how self-reported lack of sleep and low vitality, are associated with IGT in a representative Swedish population.


A cross-sectional survey conducted in two municipalities in South-western Sweden. Participants aged 30–75 were randomly selected from the population in strata by sex and age. Altogether, 2,816 participants were surveyed with a participation rates at 76%. Participants with normal glucose tolerance (n=2,314), and those with IGT (n=213) were retained for analyses. The participants answered a questionnaire before the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Associations for questions concerning sleeping disorders, vitality and IGT were analysed using logistic regression and were expressed as odds ratios (OR) with 95% CI.


In men a statistically significant age-adjusted association was found between self-reported lack of sleep and IGT: OR 2.4 (95% CI: 1.1-5.4). It did not weaken after further adjustment for body mass index (BMI), smoking, education, and leisure time physical activity 2.3 (1.0-5.5, p=0.044). No such associations were found in females. Corresponding age-adjusted associations between low vitality and IGT in both men 2.8 (1.3-5.8), and women 2.0 (1.2-3.4) were successively lost with increasing adjustment.


Insufficient sleep seems independently associated with IGT in men, while low vitality was not independently associated with IGT neither in men nor women, when multiple confounders are considered. IGT should be considered in patients presenting these symptoms, and underlying mechanisms further explored.

Impaired glucose tolerance; Fatigue; Sleeping disorders; Health conversation; Primary health care