Currently, 29.1 million people are living with diabetes in the United States, Healthline reported. In 2012 alone, there were a whopping 1.7 million new cases of the disease diagnosed in U.S. adults. Factors like diet, ethnic group, age and gender are possible contributors to someone’s chances of developing diabetes, which are being studied by scientists. Researchers are taking a look at one other, and less obvious, potential risk factor: naps. A new study has linked long naps with a higher risk of the disease. People who slept more than an hour each day were 45 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, results showed.

"It can falsely appear that their illness followed increased napping, rather than the other way around," said Benjamin Cairns, a researcher at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit of the University of Oxford. "This could mean that long naps appear to cause diabetes or other diseases, even when only the reverse is true."

Researchers noted that less than forty-minute naps did not appear to correlate to diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition associated with overweight and a sedentary lifestyle. Individuals with the disease are unable to naturally regulate their blood sugar levels. An estimated 8.1 million people with diabetes in the U.S. are undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. Without treatment, the disease can lead to blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure, heart disease and premature death.

Some clinicians — including Naveed Sattar, an expert on metabolic disease at the University of Glasgow — think that the results connecting napping and type 2 diabetes should be taken with a generous pinch of salt.

"Without proper trials, we simply will never know the answer," Sattar said.

The study was presented at a scientific congress on Thursday, and it has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed science journal.

Read more:

The Health Benefits Of Napping: Resting Can Help Reduce Stress And Protect Immune System

Eating Junk Food Doesn’t Mean You’ll Develop Type 2 Diabetes, But It Probably Affects Blood Sugar All The Same