If you’re a diabetic and find that your blood sugar levels are out of control, the problem could be that you simply aren’t getting enough sleep.
According to Lynn Maarouf, RD, diabetes education director of the Stark Diabetes Center at the University of Texas, “Any time your blood sugar is really high, your kidneys try to get rid of it by urinating. So you are probably getting up and going to bathroom all night long — and not sleeping well.”
Diabetes and sleep problems often go hand in hand. Diabetes can cause sleep loss, and there’s evidence that not sleeping well can increase your risk of developing diabetes.
High blood sugar is a red flag for sleep problems among people with diabetes for another reason. People who are tired will eat more because they want to get energy from somewhere. That can mean consuming sugar or other foods that can spike blood sugar levels. Eating properly throughout the day to keep your blood sugar under control helps diabetes sleep better at night.
In addition to diabetes affecting sleep, there is some evidence that sleep deprivation could lead to pre-diabetic state,” says Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County.
The body’s reaction to sleep loss can resemble insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Insulin’s job is to help the body use glucose for energy. In insulin resistance, cells fail to use the hormone efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar.
Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not properly use the insulin. When insulin is not doing its job, high blood sugar levels build in the body to the point where they can harm the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart.
There have been studies that have shown that people who get less sleep tend to be heavier than those who sleep well and being overweight or obese is a risk factor for developing diabetes.
There is also a link between diabetes and sleep apnea, a sleep disorder marked by loud snoring and pauses in breathing while you sleep. The culprit may be excess weight, which can cause fat deposits around the upper airway that obstruct breathing. So being overweight or obese is a risk factor for sleep apnea as well as diabetes.
If you have diabetes, are overweight, and snore, you need to tell your doctor because you may need to have a sleep study.
Sleep apnea can prevent a person from getting a good night sleep, which can worsen diabetes or perhaps increase the risk of developing diabetes. In sleep studies, you are monitored while you sleep for sleep disorders such sleep apnea.
There are many effective treatments for sleep apnea. These include lifestyle changes such as weight loss for mild cases and devices to open up blocked airways for more prominant cases.
People with diabetes have to be very careful about sleep because anything that throws off their routine can make them feel a lack of energy and fatigue and the more fatigued they feel, the more their motor is running, and the more likely they are to develop insulin deficiencies.
There truly is no magic number on how much sleep a person needs. While getting 7.5 hours per night is optimal, your personal sleep requirement is genetically determined and varies.
Want a simple test to tell if you’re sleep deprived? If you use an alarm clock, you are. If you were getting adequate sleep, your brain would awaken you before the alarm goes off.
Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients. Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems. They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare. For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; http://www.valleysleepcenter.com