Diabetes and sleep are closely related, and the relationship between them is a two way street. In other words, diabetes may lead to issues with sleep, but sleep disorders can also lead to diabetes. Below is a closer look at this intricate relationship and some ways to reduce the health risks that may result from it.
Poor sleep and diabetes risk
If you have a preexisting sleep condition like insomnia or sleep apnea, you may be at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. When your body is lacking quality sleep, you might crave more sugary, fatty foods to give you a quick fix of energy. These cravings paired with slower metabolism resulting from sleep deprivation can cause you to gain weight as your body develops a resistance to insulin, which leads to diabetes.
Diabetes creating sleep problems
Living with diabetes creates a number of health problems including poor sleep, especially if your condition is not properly managed. Patients with diabetes are much more likely to develop sleep apnea, which can further disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. Even if sleep apnea does not become a problem, diabetes can prevent you from even getting to sleep at night, because the body’s internal clock is closely tied to bodily functions such as glucose metabolism.
Preventing the problem from both sides
Whether you are already living with diabetes or you have a higher risk because of poor sleep, you can improve your health with natural solutions that will allow you to rest easier. First, you should focus on eating a balanced, nutritious diet low in processed foods to give your body the energy it needs during the day and boost your metabolism. To help your internal clock recognize when it is time to sleep, you might start exercising every day so that you are able to get more fulfilling rest later on.
For a clinical approach to improving sleep when you have diabetes, consult Dr. Rosenberg at Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff. You can make an appointment to discuss the quality of your sleep by visiting our website today.
Much has been made about the relationship of sleep to insulin resistance. We know that even in the absence of other risk factors; sleep can impact the metabolism of sugar. In two studies published this year, we gain further insight into the problem. The first study published in the journal Sleep, 254 adolescents were followed. The authors found that when those getting less than seven hours of sleep increased their sleep to seven hours; there was a 9% improvement in insulin resistance. This was regardless of weight, race or waist circumference.
In a second study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, seven healthy volunteers spent four days sleeping no more than 4.5 hours; followed by 4 days with normal amounts of sleep. After the four nights of sleep deprivation, blood tests revealed that the participants’ overall insulin sensitivity was 16% lower, on average, than after the four nights of normal sleep. Moreover, their fat cells’ sensitivity to insulin dropped by 30% to levels typically seen in people who are obese or who have diabetes.
Both of these studies highlight the relationship of sleep to diabetes. In fact, many endocrinologists are now advising their diabetic and pre-diabetic patients to get a good night’s sleep; in addition to taking their medications and losing weight.
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a very direct relationship between sleep and metabolic disorders. These studies serve to shed more light on this very important relationship.
There is a clear relationship between insufficient sleep and the incidence of Diabetes. Sleeping 6 hours or less each night can cause a craving for high calorie carbohydrates. This leads to weight gain and insulin resistance, both of which are major causes of Diabetes. Even more pronounced is the impact of sleep apnea on Diabetes. The incidence of sleep apnea in the general population is 5%. However, amongst diabetics it is over 30%. Sleep apnea can worsen, or even cause Diabetes. Fragmented sleep from not being able to breathe properly at night can cause a decrease in insulin production. Sleep apnea also causes an increase in the production of Cortisol, a hormone which raises blood sugar. If you or a relative have Diabetes and snore, are excessively sleepy, or have trouble sleeping, it is very important to find out if you have an underlying sleep disorder. Taking care of a sleep disorder can lead to improved control of your diabetes.