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June 18, 2003

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Question from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA:

My 18 year old son, who has had diabetes for about 14 months, has regulated his own insulin from day one, and his hemoglobin A1c has gone from 5.5% to 6.9%. He has graduated from high school, has an active social life, and he is usually responsible, but lately has not been getting enough sleep. He sleeps only about four hours sometimes and then plays varsity baseball during the day, goes out at night again, etc. I am concerned because he thinks he doesn't need much sleep, and I need some information to give him so that he realizes how sleep deprivation can affect his health. How important is it for my 18 year old son to have enough sleep?

Answer:

Very serious sleep disturbances may effect growth hormone secretion, but I think this is extremely unlikely to be the case with your son. His behaviour sounds very normal, and I would hesitate to interfere too stridently with a young man who seems to be taking extremely good care of his diabetes.

DOB