Objective: To ascertain whether hypoglycemia in association with sleep deprivation causes greater cognitive dysfunction than hypoglycemia alone and protracts cognitive recovery after normoglycemia is restored.
Research design and methods: Fourteen adults with type 1 diabetes underwent a hyperinsulinemic, hypoglycemic clamp on two separate occasions. Before one glucose clamp, the participants stayed awake overnight to induce sleep deprivation. Participants were randomized and counterbalanced to the experimental condition. Cognitive function tests were performed before and during hypoglycemia and for 90 min after restoration of normoglycemia.
Results: Cognitive impairment during hypoglycemia did not differ significantly between the sleep-deprived and non-sleep-deprived conditions. However, in the sleepdeprived state, digit symbol substitution scores and choice reaction times were significantlypoorer duringrecovery (P <0.001) and hypoglycemia symptom scores were significantly higher (P <0.001), even when symptoms that may have been caused by sleep deprivation, such as tiredness, were removed.
Conclusions: Hypoglycemia per se produced a significant decrement in cognitive function; coexisting sleep deprivation did not have an additive effect. However, after restoration of normoglycemia, preceding sleep deprivation was associated with persistence of hypoglycemic symptoms and greater and more prolonged cognitive dysfunction during the recovery period.