Proper sleep is very important for those with diabetes but sometimes, because of their diabetes, they can’t get enough shut-eye. This actually works both ways. Research shows that those who struggle to get good sleep may end up getting diabetes later on.
Why is there a link between sleep and diabetes and how can you improve your sleep patterns? Let’s find out.
Diabetes and Sleep – What’s the Link?
There are many reasons why sleep deprivation and diabetes is interconnected. Let’s track some of those links.
1. Hypoglycaemia During Sleep
Many diabetics get hypoglycaemia at night. It is quite common and it may lead to a night of very disturbed sleep.
Low blood sugar may lead to nausea, palpitations, perspiration etc. In your sleep, you may not even notice that your blood sugar levels are low. You may sleep light and sometimes wake up sweating; other times you may have trouble waking up in the morning because you didn’t get a good night sleep.
Once you get bad, restless sleep, your entire day goes bad. Sugar levels fluctuate all day and you end up being a little groggy.
2. High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar can also disrupt your sleeping patterns. High blood sugar puts your body in a lot of pressure. The body becomes very active which is why you may feel too hot and restless.
3. Sleep Apnea
Diabetics are prone to sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which is a condition where you stop breathing for a few minutes while sleeping. It is very common in type 2 diabetics or those suffering from obesity and very dangerous.
This happens when excess amounts of fats and sugar in the body causes insulin resistance and that gets in the way of sleep.
4. The Need To Visit The Toilet
A common symptom of diabetes is the need to pee quite often. Sometimes, it gets in the way of your sleep. If you have to visit the loo many times in the night your sleep is bound to be light. You will get up more agitated in the morning.
5. Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is a common problem many diabetics have. It usually happens because of peripheral neuropathy. Those with restless leg syndrome (RLS) usually feel a tickling sensation on their legs and feet. Some even describe it like a thousand ant crawling on them or biting them.
The feeling stays unless they move their leg. Sometimes the feeling is so strong that it doesn’t let them go to sleep and can even wake them up from a deep sleep.
Sleep Deprivation Can Lead To Diabetes
Many studies show that sleep deprivation can lead to type 2 diabetes. It usually happens because irregular sleep patterns disrupt your eating habits.
There are two hormones that control your diet – ghrelin and leptin. While ghrelin tells you when you are hungry, leptin sends signals to the brain when you are full.
Studies show that at night the ghrelin hormone secretes in larger amounts and for longer periods before the leptin hormones intervene. This is why many people with disturbed sleep are tempted to get up for a midnight snack.
Our body craves for a sugary fix during those late-night hours and sleeping right after the snack leads to indigestion and a sugar spike. This often leads to insulin resistance and type two diabetes.
How to get better sleep?
Getting a good night sleep can solve more problems then you can imagine. But in order to solve all those problems, you need to get good sleep. Here are some ways to improve your sleep:
This may be a challenge if you love your coffee, but if you really want good sleep, consider reducing coffee from the evening onwards. Try not to have sugar in your coffee because excess sugar also makes you restless and less sleepy.
2. Avoid Blue Light And Videos
Blue light emitted from your TVs and phones cause insomnia. Also if you watch a show it stimulates your brain to stay active and stops you from sleeping.
Stop watching tv or using your phone at least 1 hour before bed. Instead of watching a show you can read a book or meditate a few minutes before bed. You must relax your mind and ready yourself for sleep.
3. Wear Special Diabetic Socks
Smart diabetic socks encourage blood circulation and it prevents your feet from getting numb. It especially helps those with restless leg syndrome or peripheral neuropathy because of the increased blood circulation.
With the increase in blood flow, your nerves feel soothed and relaxed and your body can finally go into an undisturbed sleep.
4. Don’t Work Where You Sleep
Your mind tends to associate certain places for activity and certain places for relaxation. If you work from home, we would highly recommend not to work on your bed.
Sensitive sleepers have a hard time associating the bed with sleep if they work on it. It’s quite similar to how some people can’t work on their bed because they feel too sleepy.
It’s best to get up in the morning and never see your bed until the next time you are going to bed.
5. White Noise
Ideally, your room should be dark, cold and silent for you to get a good sleep. But some people actually sleep better with some white noise. If you aren’t sure you can try it out for one night. The sound of rain, waves, washing machine etc can calm you down and help you get a good sleep.
6. Have A Routine
A routine puts your body on a clock and that helps you get better sleep. Make sure you are free at least for an hour before sleep. You should not eat right before bed and try to sleep at around the same time every day. This will get you into a good habit and help you get good sleep.
So here are our tips for getting better sleep. Is there anything you do to help you with your sleep? Let’s help everyone by giving more suggestions below.