Lack Of Sleep And Diabetes: What You Need to Know? Update 01/2022

Diabetes is the sixth greatest cause of death in the United States, affecting more than 30 million individuals. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is a long-term condition that results from insulin resistance.

As a glucose transporter, insulin helps to move glucose from the blood to the muscles, fat and liver, and other cells in the body where it may be used as fuel for the cells’ metabolism. A person develops insulin resistance if their body is unable to produce enough insulin or if insulin itself is unable to carry glucose into their cells. As a result, glucose levels in the blood rise, which is known as hyperglycemia or high blood sugar in the context of diabetes. Failure to control this condition can lead to serious damage to the heart and other vital organs.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with a range of sleep disorders, including insomnia and poor sleep quality. The good news is that improving sleep and overall health can be as simple as paying close attention to a person’s food, exercise, and blood sugar levels.

How Does Diabetes Affect Sleep?

Type 2 diabetes is associated with sleep issues in one out of every two patients because of the fluctuating blood sugar levels and other diabetes-related symptoms. Insomnia and weariness the next day might be caused by blood sugar swings (hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia) that occur at night. As with many chronic disorders, insomnia may be caused by feelings of melancholy or anxiety related to the disease itself.

Diabetes is the sixth greatest cause of death in the United States, affecting more than 30 million individuals. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is a long-term condition that results from insulin resistance.

As a glucose transporter, insulin helps to move glucose from the blood to the muscles, fat and liver, and other cells in the body where it may be used as fuel for the cells’ metabolism. A person develops insulin resistance if their body is unable to produce enough insulin or if insulin itself is unable to carry glucose into their cells. As a result, glucose levels in the blood rise, which is known as hyperglycemia or high blood sugar in the context of diabetes. Failure to control this condition can lead to serious damage to the heart and other vital organs.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with a range of sleep disorders, including insomnia and poor sleep quality. The good news is that improving sleep and overall health can be as simple as paying close attention to a person’s food, exercise, and blood sugar levels.

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. Whether one leads to the other or if there are additional elements at play is unclear. The effects of insulin, cortisol and oxidative stress on blood sugar levels are thought to explain how sleep deprivation affects them.

People with diabetes who sleep less than six hours or more than eight hours a night have an increased risk of having high blood sugar, as one-quarter of those individuals report. 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 non-diabetics have been reported to have higher blood sugar levels when their sleep patterns are erratic or later in the evening. A person’s inconsistent sleeping patterns may contribute to their disordered eating habits, but this isn’t the only explanation.

A lack of sleep causes an increase in ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and a reduction in leptin, the hormone that tells us to stop eating when we’re full. 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.

Disrupted sleep and frequent nightly awakenings in adults with type 2 diabetes can have an impact on their diabetic self-care practices, such as exercising regularly and frequently monitoring blood glucose levels.

Poor sleep can have a long-term impact on people with type 2 diabetes, in addition to the immediate 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 be more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment in old age, 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): Restless legs syndrome, characterized by tingling or other uncomfortable feelings in the legs, can prevent persons with type 2 diabetes from falling asleep. Peripheral neuropathy is another ailment that diabetics are susceptible to. As with RLS, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are similar and include tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands, feet, and other parts of the body. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that requires therapy to prevent long-term nerve damage in those who have these symptoms.
  • 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. While snoring and gasping may be observed by the person’s bedmate, in most situations the person is unaware of what is going on. These micro-arousals (very brief awakenings) disrupt the usual evolution of the sleep stages and affect sleep quality. As a result of their larger neck circumferences, those who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from OSA. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device can be used to maintain the airway open to restore regular breathing and minimize interruptions to 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. American Diabetes Association estimates that one in four patients with type 2 diabetes also suffer from OSA, and a further 25% of type 2 diabetics have another sleep-related respiratory issue.

People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop both OSA and type 2 diabetes. Even after correcting for weight, OSA still appears to have an impact on insulin resistance and glucose management. OSA not only disrupts slow-wave sleep but also shuts off the body’s oxygen supply on a regular basis. Insulin resistance and glucose intolerance are the results of all of these factors working in concert.

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.

The link between sleep apnea and diabetes needs further investigation, although it is obvious that physical fitness plays a significant role. Type 2 diabetics with sleep apnea may benefit best from a treatment approach that includes both weight loss and CPAP therapy.

How Can People With Diabetes Cope With Sleep Issues?

People with type 2 diabetes who regulate their blood sugar levels carefully can sleep better. It’s vital to remember that diabetes and sleep are linked. As an example, these encompass both daytime and nocturnal behaviors, such as:

  • You can control your blood sugar by following a food plan that works for you.
  • Regular physical activity is essential.
  • Maintaining a consistent sleep routine.
  • Caffeine and nicotine should be avoided in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  • A cool, dark, and peaceful environment in the bedroom.

In addition to diabetic sleep aids, your doctor may be able to suggest other strategies for improving your quality of sleep based on your unique situation. A polysomnogram (sleep study) may be used to determine if a sleep disorder is to blame for your sleep difficulties. CPAP machines, for example, can be used to treat secondary sleep problems.

The connection between lack of sleep and Type 2 diabetes

Type II Diabetes affects the vast majority of people with diabetes in the United States (around 95% of those diagnosed). Is it possible to reduce this alarming number by just getting more sleep?

Most people are familiar with the typical risk factors for developing Type II Diabetes:

  • unhealthy eating choices
  • obesity
  • lack of exercise

Type II Diabetes has been linked to insufficient sleep as well. Pre-diabetes can be brought on by a lack of sleep.

Diabetics with type II diabetes have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormone levels may also be out of whack. Among these is the hormone cortisol, which keeps your body awake. Cortisol levels rise when we don’t get enough sleep, which in turn raises our stress levels. Blood sugar levels may rise as cortisol levels rise in the body. A tiny amount of this happens in the body on its own, but human conduct plays an important role in this process.

Your pancreas will create more insulin in an effort to counteract the rise in blood sugar levels and process the extra sugar. As stress hormone levels rise, insulin struggles to do its job properly, resulting in dangerously high blood sugar levels (glucose). It becomes increasingly difficult for the pancreas to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels over time. Type II Diabetes refers to this inability to control blood sugar levels.

High quantities of these stress hormones also have a direct effect on the way we act, making us seek sugary treats. When we don’t get enough sleep, we tend to overindulge in sugary and carbohydrate-rich fare. Consumption of these foods can contribute to weight gain and an increase in blood sugar, which can lead to Type II Diabetes in the long run.

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 chemicals, which keep you alert, but your insulin production is stifled. Type 2 diabetes is more likely if you have blood glucose levels that are too high. An increase in blood sugar levels might damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart when insulin isn’t working properly.

Diabetes isn’t the only health problem that can result from a lack of sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to get involved in an accident or go into a state of sadness.

Getting less than four and a half to six hours of sleep a night has been linked to a variety of health issues. 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 optimal functioning, it is recommended that you receive seven to nine hours of unbroken sleep each night.

Asleep study at the Reid Health Sleep Disorders Center can help diagnose and treat sleep disorders like snoring and apnea.

Low Sleep, High Blood Sugar

For another reason, Maarouf believes that high blood sugar is a warning sign for diabetes patients experiencing sleep disorders. A fatigued person will eat more because they are looking for vitality, she claims. “Sugar or other things that increase blood sugar levels” are examples of what that may include.

To help people sleep better at night, Maarouf encourages them to consume a healthy diet throughout the day and keep their blood sugar levels in check throughout the day. “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

According to Mahowald, some research has shown that those who sleep less tend to be heavier than those who sleep more. Obesity increases one’s risk of developing diabetes mellitus.

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. Overweight people may have difficulty breathing because of fat deposits in their upper airways. Sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes are both linked to obesity.

You should tell your doctor if you have diabetes, obesity, and snoring, the clinical director at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey advises. “Asleep study may be in order for you.” Sleep apnea can disrupt a person’s ability to obtain a decent night’s rest, which can exacerbate or possibly raise the chance of developing diabetes. Sleep apnea and other sleep abnormalities can be detected during sleep testing. Treatment options for sleep apnea abound. For moderate cases, they include dietary adjustments like losing weight, while for more serious ones, devices to unblock obstructed airways are used.

Sleep Is as Important as What You Eat

“Diabetics have to be very careful about their schedule because anything that throws it off can make them feel low energy and tired,” adds Zafarlotfi. To a greater extent, their motor runs faster and more frequently when they are tired, increasing the risk of diabetes.”

“Diabetes patients need as much sleep as they need a healthy diet,” she explains.

Determining How Much Sleep You Need

Zafarlotfi explains that “there is no formula for how much sleep you require.” “It’s up to you,” she said.

Mahowald is on board. In general, we need 7.5 hours of sleep per night, although each person’s needs are unique, according to the author. Depending on how far you want to go, it could take anywhere from four hours to ten or eleven hours.

Sleep deprivation can be determined by taking a simple test. “If you use an alarm clock, you are,” Mahowald explains. You’d be up before the alarm goes off if you were getting enough sleep, right?

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