It is no secret that the average American is unhealthy, and more and more people are being diagnosed with preventable diseases such as diabetes. A 2015 report by the CDC found that almost 10 percent of Americans have diabetes, which is concerningly high. This, coupled with the obesity epidemic, ramps up healthcare costs as high as $210 billion dollars per year. Something needs to be done.

There are two kinds of diabetes; both have to do with an individual not being able to regulate their blood sugar. Type 1 is genetic and unpreventable, type 2 is from an unhealthy lifestyle and is preventable. The unhealthy lifestyle that leads to type 2 diabetes is popularly thought to be from poor diet and lack of exercise alone, however, lack of sleep is often overlooked as part of the problem. Sleep deprivation is not uncommon in the United States, and it is reported that 1 in 3 Americans do not get the recommended amount of sleep. Sleep deprivation elevates blood sugar levels to concerningly high levels, which is a cause and sign of type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar levels also promote the storing of unwanted body fat. A combination of lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition is a recipe for an unhealthy and unhappy person.

If you are struggling to get adequate sleep, you are not alone. Many people in your life may feel the same way, so don’t be ashamed. Get to the gym and get healthy foods into your diet. Ponder these three aspects: sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Decide which one you feel you can most easily improve, then implement the improvement for a few weeks until it becomes routine. For example, if you are only getting 5 hours of sleep per night and you think that you can easily get into bed a few hours sooner, start with that. You may find that after a few weeks of this you have more energy to start that gym membership you’ve been thinking about. And once you start going to the gym, healthier nutrition options may seem more appealing. Just like that, the combination of sleep, exercise, and nutrition is helping to better regulate your blood sugar. Investing in your health makes a happier and healthier you.