The relationship between metformin therapy and sleep quantity and quality in patients with Type 2 diabetes referred for potential sleep disorders




Given that sleep disorders are known to be related to insulin resistance, and metformin has favourable effects on insulin resistance and on ventilatory drive, we sought to determine whether metformin therapy was related to sleep variables in a group of patients with Type 2 diabetes.


We performed a retrospective, observational study of our centre's database for patients referred for potential sleep disorders and then compared metformin-treated patients with those not treated with the drug. All study patients had undergone the same standard polysomnographic procedure. A multivariate analysis was performed to establish whether or not there was an independent relationship between metformin use and sleep variables (after adjusting for age, gender, BMI, neck circumference, cumulated risk factors and insulin use).


We studied 387 patients (mean ± sd age: 58.4 ± 10.8 years), of whom 314 had been treated with metformin. Total sleep time and sleep efficiency were higher in metformin-treated patients than in patients not treated with metformin [total sleep time: 6 h 39 min vs. 6 h 3 min, respectively (P = 0.002); sleep efficiency: 77.9 ± 12.3 vs. 71.5 ± 17.2%, respectively (P = 0.003)]. These differences persisted after adjustment for covariates and were observed even although metformin users had a higher BMI than did non-users (median 37.5 vs. 34.8 kg/m2; P = 0.045).


We showed that metformin therapy is associated with a longer sleep duration and better sleep efficiency. Randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm metformin's favourable effect on sleep quality and quantity.