Everyone needs adequate sleep, but people with type 2 diabetes need it even more. Gregg Faiman, MD, an endocrinologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio, believes that little sleep can deleteriously impact blood sugar levels immediately and over time. According to him, exercise and proper nutrition are equally as crucial to your health as sleep.
Your body experiences stress from insufficient sleep, which releases chemicals like cortisol. Dr. Faiman claims cortisol “increases insulin resistance and blood sugar levels.” On the other hand, individuals with type 2 diabetes may experience health risks from sleeping excessively. According to a study published in Diabetologia in 2020, those with diabetes who slept more (or less) than seven hours had a higher risk of passing away before their time.
When controlling type 2 diabetes, the following tactics can ensure you obtain the best possible sleep.
1) Put Blood Sugar Management First
According to Joy Pape, NP, of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City, having too high or too low blood sugar can cause you to wake up at night. Maintaining target blood sugar levels will help you sleep better if you have type 2 diabetes since you won’t experience highs or lows that interfere with your sleep.
Visit your diabetes healthcare professional, where you can decide on a specific treatment plan that considers your unique food, activity, medication, and monitoring needs, according to Pape. To view your glucose levels throughout 24 hours, she continues, “I highly recommend monitoring your glucose with a continuous glucose monitor.”
2) Maintain a Healthy Sleep Habit
According to the NSF, most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night. According to Faiman, many people don’t give themselves enough time to sleep, but if you have type 2 diabetes, you must do it. Dr. Strohl concurs, saying that everyone should prepare for enough sleep, just like you would for other activities, especially those with chronic problems like diabetes. Never consider rest to be less significant than TV viewing or phone calls, he advises.
Another thing to remember is to avoid taking too many naps. According to the NSF, naps should only be taken in the early afternoon and last no longer than 20 minutes. This is because you might have trouble falling asleep that night any later than that.
3) Do a sleep apnea test.
According to Kingman Strohl, MD, a sleep medicine specialist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, type 2 diabetics frequently have the sleep disease sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, often known as sleep apnea, affects 7 out of 10 patients with type 2 diabetes, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep apnea, a disease in which breathing starts and stops while you’re asleep, can be brought on by being overweight and having extra fat in your neck. According to the foundation, this irregular breathing during sleep disrupts the body’s oxygen flow and results in less restful sleep. Loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, and morning headaches are all signs of sleep apnea.
Ask your doctor for a sleep test if you or your partner think you may have sleep apnea. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, breathing apparatuses, like a positive airway pressure machine, and dietary adjustments, including weight loss, can be used to treat sleep apnea.
4) Avoid alcoholic beverages before bed.
Blood sugar levels are impacted by alcohol. According to the In Dependent Diabetes Trust, an English advocacy group for individuals with diabetes, alcohol hinders the release of glucose into the bloodstream. It takes your body roughly two hours to completely metabolize any alcohol you’ve taken. The group advises people who drink alcohol to do so sparingly and only while eating. “Moderation” is defined as one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for males in the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition, the NSF advises quitting drinking four hours before bedtime to lower the risk of sleep disruptions.
5) Working Out During the Day
If you move throughout the day, you’ll sleep better at night. According to the NSF, even just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise has positive effects. This is because exercise raises your internal body temperature, which later in the day, when it returns to normal, causes a tired feeling and aids in falling asleep, according to the foundation. Strohl states that exercise can also aid calorie burning and healthy weight maintenance. Even a slight weight decrease can improve your ability to manage type 2 diabetes if you are overweight.