People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea are likely to develop diabetes, with heredity notching up the risk.

The sleep disorder causes metabolic changes by increasing insulin resistance and leading to diabetes, say researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Rossana Huerta Albarran, said.

Obstructive sleep apnoea occurs when there are repeated episodes of complete or partial blockage of the upper airway during sleep. The diaphragm and chest muscles have to work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs, says WebMD.

These episodes also reduce the flow of oxygen to vital organs and cause irregular heart rhythms.

Poor sleep causes weight gain because the brain sends signals that generate an increase in appetite and the need to consume carbohydrates, reports Agencia ID.

As obese people are prone to diabetes, apnoea plays a fundamental role in triggering the disease.

It is also responsible for the increase of cholesterol, triglycerides and hypertension.

Use of technology is also causing sleeplessness, with the light from the cell phone or laptop causing the brain to react to light, observed the specialist.

Rafael Santana, medical specialist at the Sleep Disorders Clinic of the UNAM, says that there is no fixed number of sleep hours as it varies from person to person.

What matters is the quality of sleep.