What does sleep have to do with diabetes? Experts are finding that sleep is essential to good health, and is related to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Sleep is mandatory - we need an average of seven-nine hours of sleep each night. Studies have shown that people who sleep five or less hours were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and suffer from obesity and hypertension.
What are the effects of lack of sleep, or poor quality sleep? Your ability to pay attention, focus, and react quickly is impaired. You have might have increased problems with decision making, mood, and depression. You could be a danger to yourself and others if you get drowsy when you drive. Medically, you are at increased risk for heart attacks, strokes
, high blood pressure
resistance, as well as obesity and diabetes. Your body has alterations in its insulin producing function and illness fighting capacity.
If your blood glucose
management is faulty, so is your sleep. You may be getting up frequently to urinate, you might be extra thirsty or hungry, and/or your blood sugar
drops in the middle of the night and you wake up. When you work closely with your doctor or diabetes educator
to solve these issues, you can gain a quality sleep pattern. (If you are a U.S.-based diabetes patient and need to locate a diabetes educator near you, click here
Fifty percent of people with diabetes have sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which the person stops breathing briefly and repeatedly, or breathing becomes very shallow. You may have these symptoms - snoring (but not necessary for sleep apnea), daytime sleepiness, dry mouth, morning headaches, memory deficit, or weight gain. If you suspect a problem, your doctor can order a sleep study. Treatment often includes the use of a CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).
Consider your sleep habits and try making these changes. Stop smoking if you smoke. The use of alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers relax your throat and cause snoring or airway disruption. Caffeine in the evening and other medications can disturb your ability to sleep through the night with no interruptions. Large meals and exercise before bed, physical discomfort such as arthritis or restless leg, and stress can add to the tossing and turning. Discuss your sleep habits with your doctor if you notice you are tired and drowsy during the day.
Reviewed by Clara Schneider MS, RD, RN, CDE, LDN - 05/13