. Diabetes and Healthier Sleep - New Orleans Musicians' Clinic

Diabetes and Healthier Sleep

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Did you know that sleep loss may lead to higher blood sugar levels? 

Sleep loss is associated with “insulin resistance.” Insulin is a hormone that helps lower blood sugar. Insulin resistance is a condition where the body is not able to use insulin properly – this can lead to higher blood sugars.

Lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk for diabetes. Frequent sleep loss is also associated with higher risk for obesity, heart disease, blood pressure and stroke. If someone already has diabetes, constant lack of sleep may worsen diabetes.


Did you know that people with diabetes have a higher risk of sleep disorders? 

Many people with diabetes suffer from sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

People with type 2 diabetes have a 50-50 chance of having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a breathing disorder where the airway is blocked when the mouth and throat relax during sleep. This can happen many times during sleep causing pauses in breathing that can last more than 10 seconds. Other risk factors for OSA are smoking or being overweight. OSA can worsen diabetes symptoms and is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Snoring can be a sign of OSA. Losing weight can help resolve OSA.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) has been associated with high blood sugars and kidney problems, among other things. With RLS the person has an uncontrollable urge to move the legs before falling asleep. Other symptoms can include a throbbing, pulling, crawling or tingling sensation. These painful sensations can keep the person from a restful sleep.

Although not a sleep disorder, diabetic neuropathy can also cause a person to lose sleep. Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur with diabetes. With peripheral neuropathy, the most common type, people may feel numbness or a tingling and burning sensation that is worse at night.


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Did you know that high blood sugar can be a red flag for sleep problems among people with diabetes? 

As noted above, lack of sleep has been linked to insulin resistance which can increase blood sugar. Sleep loss is linked to weight gain which can also lead to higher blood sugars. Lack of sleep affects the appetite. When you are tired you will want to eat more because your body seeks energy.

On the flip side, if your blood sugar is not at target it can lead to poor sleep. If your sugar is too high, your kidneys try to get rid of the extra sugar in the urine. This can result in frequent trips to the bathroom during the night. High blood sugar can also cause thirst, hunger and headaches which can also wake you up during then night.

Low blood sugar can cause restless sleep by causing nightmares, night sweats, headaches and hunger.

Getting a good night’s sleep is yet another reason to get your blood sugar in control. If your bloods sugar is not a target, work with your medical provider to figure out the reason it is not at goal. What you eat is very important, but there are other things the can affect your sugar. Your schedule, medications, level of physical activity and stress can also make a difference.


Visit the following webpage to read more about how many hours of sleep you need, why you need good sleep, dangers of not getting enough sleep and tips to ensure you get good sleep:

>> Sleep Your Way to Better Health <<


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