Sleep is as important as diet when you have diabetes. It is linked with your weight, eating habits and blood sugar levels. It is essential to get enough sleep every night to try to avoid health complications related to diabetes.
- Most healthy adults require 7 to 9 hours each night. This amount varies based on the individual. If you wake up automatically without an alarm clock, it is likely you are getting enough sleep.
- Studies revealed the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight. Gaining weight increases your insulin resistance. Certain studies showed the body reacts to lack of sleep in a way that resembles insulin resistance. It is especially important for people with diabetes to get enough sleep.
- Weight gain and insulin resistance can cause high blood pressure. One way to try to verify the effectiveness of your sleeping and eating habits is to monitor your blood pressure. Keep a wrist blood pressure monitor or blood pressure cuffs handy for regular checks.
- Have a consistent sleep routine so your body knows what to expect. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals before bed to fall asleep more easily. Minimize stress and relax by reading a book or taking a bath. Exercise earlier in the day rather than before bed so you can unwind.
- There is also a link between sleep apnea, diabetes and being overweight. People with sleep apnea have pauses in breathing and snore loudly. Sometimes excess weight is the reason breathing is obstructed. Losing weight may help prevent symptoms of sleep apnea.
- Sleep apnea can prevent you from having consistent sleep. This may worsen diabetes or increase the risk of developing it. Sleep studies monitor your sleep patterns to determine whether you have sleep apnea. Your physician might recommend lifestyle changes or using certain devices to minimize the symptoms of sleep apnea.
- Sleep deprivation can cause a lack of energy or increased fatigue and an increased level of cortisol. People with diabetes could wind up snacking to boost their energy. This creates a vicious cycle of weight gain, raised blood sugar levels and related health problems. Examine whether you are hungry or tired before reaching for another snack. Avoid snacks with sugar or high carbohydrates that may cause your blood sugar levels to soar. Mix a snack of protein and carbohydrate to reduce the blood sugar response.
- Monitor your blood sugar before bed. High blood sugar makes your kidneys try to get rid of it by increased urination. Constant urination during the night interrupts your sleep patterns and can leave you feeling fatigued in the morning.
Getting enough sleep every night is crucial to properly manage diabetes. Talk to your diabetes care team about proper sleep and diet to ward off fatigue, raised blood sugar levels and potential health problems.