Updated at: 11-01-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Diabetes is the sixth greatest cause of death in the United States, affecting about 30 million individuals. In those with type 2 diabetes, which is the most frequent kind, insulin resistance is the underlying cause of the disease’s progression to a chronic stage.

Assists move glucose from the blood to muscle, fat, and liver cells where it may be used for energy. Insulin is a hormone that helps A condition known as insulin resistance arises when the body is unable to produce or move glucose into the cells. As a result, glucose levels in the blood rise, which is known as hyperglycemia or high blood sugar in the context of diabetes. The heart, kidneys, and other vital organs may suffer if this is not handled correctly.

Many persons with type 2 diabetes have poor sleep quality or insomnia because of their condition. The good news is that if you pay attention to your nutrition, exercise, and blood sugar levels, you may improve your sleep quality and your general health.

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How Does Diabetes Affect Sleep?

Type 2 diabetes and its accompanying symptoms affect the sleep of one in every two persons, according to research. Having hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia (high or low blood sugar) at night can cause sleeplessness and weariness the following day. Depressive or anxious thoughts about the disease can keep you awake at night, as they do with many chronic disorders.

Diabetes is the sixth greatest cause of death in the United States, affecting about 30 million individuals. In those with type 2 diabetes, which is the most frequent kind, insulin resistance is the underlying cause of the disease’s progression to a chronic stage.

Assists move glucose from the blood to muscle, fat, and liver cells where it may be used for energy. Insulin is a hormone that helps A condition known as insulin resistance arises when the body is unable to produce or move glucose into the cells. As a result, glucose levels in the blood rise, which is known as hyperglycemia or high blood sugar in the context of diabetes. The heart, kidneys, and other vital organs may suffer if this is not handled correctly.

Many persons with type 2 diabetes have poor sleep quality or insomnia because of their condition. The good news is that if you pay attention to your nutrition, exercise, and blood sugar levels, you may improve your sleep quality and your general health.

How Does Poor Sleep Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

Diabetes can exacerbate sleep issues, and vice versa appears to be true. People with diabetes and pre-diabetes have been found to have higher blood sugar levels if they have less restorative slow-wave sleep. There is, however, a possibility that there are other factors at play. Due to its effects on insulin, cortisol, and oxidative stress, researchers believe that sleep deprivation may impact blood sugar levels.

Diabetics who sleep less than six hours a night are twice as likely to have high blood sugar than those who sleep more than eight. Additionally, sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased incidence of insulin resistance in those who do not already have diabetes. As early as infancy, this connection can be seen.

Even in persons who are not diabetic, a lack of sleep has been linked to an increase in blood sugar levels. Some other variables, such as the fact that persons who sleep irregularly are more prone to eat irregularly, may also explain this.

The hunger hormone ghrelin is elevated and the fullness hormone leptin is decreased when we are sleep deprived. People who have trouble sleeping may turn to high-sugar foods to make up for their lack of energy, increasing their risk of becoming obese, which in turn increases their risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes self-care for adults with type 2 diabetes might be compromised if they have difficulty sleeping or wake up frequently at night due to sleep disturbances or frequent blood glucose testing.

Poor sleep can have a long-term impact on people with type 2 diabetes, in addition to its acute consequences on blood sugar levels. Mentally ill people are more likely to use sleep aids or have problems falling asleep in the first place. People with diabetes who don’t get enough sleep may have an increased risk of cognitive deterioration in later life, according to preliminary research.

What Sleep Disorders Are Common in People With Diabetes?

As a result, people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop restless legs syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea, two of the most common sleep disorders in this population.

  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Approximately one in five persons with type 2 diabetes suffer from restless legs syndrome, which is defined by tingling or other uncomfortable feelings in the legs. Peripheral neuropathy is another issue that can affect people with diabetes. Peripheral neuropathy, which is caused by nerve injury and manifests as tingling, numbness, and pain in the limbs, shares many symptoms with RLS. A healthcare provider should be seen if you have these symptoms, as peripheral neuropathy must be treated in order to prevent long-term nerve damage.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Sleep apnea, more commonly known as OSA, is a sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing is repeatedly interrupted while sleeping. The majority of the time, the person snoring and gasping is blissfully unaware. These micro-arousals (very brief awakenings) interfere with the natural evolution of the sleep stages and diminish the quality of the slumbering process. As a result of their larger neck circumference, obese people are more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). There are CPAP devices that can be used to maintain the airway open while you sleep, thereby reducing disturbances in your sleep.

What Is the Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes?

In persons who are not already diabetic or obese, sleep apnea has been proven to enhance insulin resistance, even though it is not a cause of diabetes per se. Type 2 diabetics are estimated by the American Diabetes Association to have up to one in four persons who have OSA, as well as a quarter of those with type 2 diabetes who have a sleep-related respiratory issue.

People who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from both OSA and type 2 diabetes. However, even after correcting for obesity, OSA appears to have an effect on insulin resistance and glucose management. OSA not only disrupts slow-wave sleep by causing sleep fragmentation but also periodically deprives the body of oxygen. Insulin resistance and poor glucose metabolism resulting from the combination of these factors.

According to research, both short-term and long-term therapy of sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) improves blood sugar levels as well as insulin resistance. The lack of change in blood glucose levels after treating OSA in other studies has prompted some researchers to conclude the link could be attributable to other variables such as weight.

Sleep apnea and diabetes have been linked for some time, but further research is needed to determine the exact nature of the association. People with type 2 diabetes who have sleep apnea may benefit from a combination of weight loss and CPAP treatment.

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How Can People With Diabetes Cope With Sleep Issues?

The quality of sleep that persons with type 2 diabetes get can be improved with the proper control of blood sugar levels. Because of the link between diabetes and poor sleep, it’s critical to practice proper sleep hygiene. Many of these habits are both day and nighttime routines.

  • Following a diet that you enjoy and that helps you control your blood sugar levels.
  • Regular physical activity.
  • Consistently going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.
  • Before going to bed, stay away from stimulants like caffeine and nicotine.
  • A cool, dark, and peaceful environment in the bedroom.

Your doctor may be able to prescribe sleep aids for diabetes or other measures to improve your sleep based on your unique situation. A polysomnogram, often known as a sleep study, can be used to determine if your sleep issues are caused by a sleep disorder. The use of a CPAP machine, for example, can help cure secondary sleep disturbances.

The connection between lack of sleep and Type 2 diabetes

Type II Diabetes is the most common form of disease in the United States, accounting for 95 percent of all cases. Get more sleep to lessen this alarming number, perhaps?

Most people are familiar with the main causes of Type II Diabetes, such as obesity and a lack of exercise.

  • unhealthy eating choices
  • obesity
  • lack of exercise

However, a lack of sleep has also been linked to Type II Diabetes, according to a study. Does sleep deprivation make you more susceptible to developing diabetes?

Those with Type II Diabetes are unable to control their blood sugar levels.

Sleep deprivation can disrupt your body’s hormone balance, making you more susceptible to mood swings and other symptoms. Cortisol, a hormone that keeps you alert, is one of these. Cortisol levels can arise when we don’t get enough sleep. Blood sugar levels may rise in conjunction with an increase in the body’s production of cortisol. Even if this occurs to a lesser extent in the body on its own, the food we eat has the power to influence our behavior even more.

Your pancreas will create more insulin to digest the extra sugar in your body in an effort to balance the rise in blood sugar levels. As stress hormone levels rise, insulin struggles to do its job properly, resulting in dangerously high blood sugar levels (glucose). Blood sugar levels become out of control because the pancreas can no longer keep up with the workload. Type II Diabetes refers to the inability to control one’s blood sugar levels.

Stress hormones have a direct effect on our behavior, causing us to seek sugary treats. When we’re sleep-deprived, we tend to overindulge in sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages. Consumption of these foods can contribute to weight gain and an increase in blood sugar, which can lead to Type II Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is more likely to develop if you don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body secretes more stress hormones, which keep you awake through insulin, but insulin can’t do its job properly. Type 2 diabetes is more likely if you have blood glucose levels that are too high. Blood sugar levels can rise to dangerously high levels of insulin is not working properly, putting the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart at risk.

In addition to the development of diabetes, sleep deprivation can lead to numerous other health problems. Insufficient sleep might increase your risk of accidents and depression.

Getting less than six hours of sleep a night can cause these unfavorable effects.

Insulin levels and blood sugar levels are closely regulated throughout the “deep sleep” stage of the restorative sleep cycle. These potentially harmful consequences can be reversed if only a few days of sleep loss occur. However, to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and maximize your body’s full functioning, it is recommended that you receive seven to nine hours of unbroken sleep per night.

Make an appointment with your doctor or the Sleep Disorders Center at Reid Health to get tested for any major sleep condition that is keeping you awake at night, such as snoring.

Low Sleep, High Blood Sugar

People with diabetes who have high blood sugar are more likely to have trouble sleeping, according to Maarouf. There will be an increase in appetite for food among those who are feeling weary, according to her. “Sugar or other things that increase blood sugar levels” are examples of what that may include.

According to Maarouf, “I really push individuals to eat appropriately throughout the day and get their blood sugars under control so that they sleep better at night. “If you manage your blood sugar properly, you’ll sleep well at night and have plenty of energy in the morning.”

The Link Between Lack of Sleep and Weight

Mahowald points to research showing that those who sleep poorly gain more weight than those who sleep well. Diabetes is more likely to occur in those who are overweight or obese.

It has been found that people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer from sleep disorders such as snoring and stoppages in breathing during sleep. Fat deposits around the upper airway can impede breathing if you’re overweight. Sleep apnea and diabetes are both linked to obesity, which is why it’s important to maintain a healthy weight.

Doctor Susan Zafarlotfi of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey advises people with diabetes and obesity to alert their doctors if they have a history of snoring. It’s possible that you require a sleep evaluation.” Diabetic complications may worsen as a result of a lack of restful sleep, which can be caused by sleep apnea. When you have a sleep study, your breathing, heart rate, and oxygen saturation levels are closely monitored to see if you have any sleep disorders like snoring or breathing problems. Treatment options for sleep apnea abound. There are a variety of treatment options, including lifestyle changes like losing weight and the use of breathing aids for more serious cases of asthma.

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Sleep Is as Important as What You Eat

According to Zafarlotfi, “in general, persons with diabetes have to be very careful about sleep since anything that throws their routine off can make them experience low energy and weariness.” It’s more likely that they’ll suffer from insulin deficits if they’re feeling exhausted.”

People with diabetes, she argues, should prioritize good sleep over good nutrition.

Determining How Much Sleep You Need

For how much sleep you need, Zafarlotfi asserts that there is no formula. “It’s up to you,” she said.

Mahowald concurs. It is genetically set and might vary from person to person. On average, we need 7.5 hours of sleep per night. Depending on how far you want to go, it could take anywhere from four hours to ten or eleven hours.

Want to determine whether you’ve been sleeping too little? As Mahowald points out, the answer is as simple as using an alarm clock. If you had gotten enough sleep, your brain would wake you up before the alarm sounded.”

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