People are often surprised to hear that sleep deprivation can lead to diabetes, as they only think of diabetes as a condition of metabolism.
What we often forget is that sleep deprivation leads to neurochemical imbalances of several kinds of brain and body substances, including blood sugar and insulin.
Especially for those with sleep apnea, the ongoing patterns of disturbed sleep and related dips in blood oxygen encourage an imbalance in blood sugar and insulin that can take a person who may be pre-diabetic into a full-blown case of diabetes simply because they aren't getting proper amounts of oxygen for long periods during the night.
From the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine:
"Several lines of evidence indicate that chronic lack of sleep may contribute to the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Adequate sleep and good sleep hygiene should be included among the goals of a healthy lifestyle, especially for patients with diabetes. We urge clinicians to recommend at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night as part of a healthy lifestyle."
Learn more about how lack of sleep can cause diabetes