One of the most serious health consequences that comes from disrupted, or poor quality sleep, is a significantly increased risk for diabetes. The relationship between sleep and diabetes is complicated, but we do already know that sleep has a powerful connection to metabolism, hormones that regulate appetite and our eating patterns, and also to the body’s use of blood sugar and insulin.
Poor sleep affects diabetes both directly and indirectly – it triggers hormonal changes, weight gain and obesity, and also impacts behaviour and lifestyle changes. Sleep disruption is known to significantly increase the risk for Type 2 Diabetes, and in turn, people with Diabetes are much more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Therefore, the more severe sleep problems are, the more severe—and less well-controlled their diabetes is likely to be.
Over the past several decades, there has been a steady rise in the number of people with chronic sleep deprivation, obesity, and diabetes. And it’s definitely more than just a coincidence since the rises in these serious health problems such as sleep deprivation, obesity, and diabetes appear to be connected.
While talking about sleep and its influence over diabetes, it’s important to consider not just the amount of sleep, but also sleep quality, sleep habits and sleep patterns.
And despite the increasingly strong evidence linking sleep to diabetes, sleep problems remain an overlooked factor in the risks for, and in management of, diabetes.
Our body-clock is easily thrown off sync by irregular sleep schedules, poor quality or restless sleep, or sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea. And these disruptions to the body clock which often go hand-in-hand with sleep problems, reduces the effectiveness of insulin and, over time, contributes to insulin resistance. Because insulin’s job is to regulate blood glucose levels, changes to insulin, creates changes to blood sugar levels.
We’ve now established that a good night’s sleep is essential in the prevention and management of Diabetes, A good night’s sleep has many benefits – you’ll be more alert, have more energy, have less stress and you may find it easier to control your blood sugar.
Here are a few helpful tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Relax before bedtime
- Go to bed at the same time every day
- No heavy meals, alcohol or caffeine right before bedtime
- Limit all fluids to 1 hour before bedtime
- Make your room comfortable
- Try relaxation techniques, reading, or music
- Remove distractions, especially tablets and smartphones that can interrupt sleep
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