Sleep Problems and Diabetes- Essential Tips for Better Sleep

Sleep Problems and Diabetes- Essential Tips for Better Sleep

Connection between diabetes and sleep

Is it possible that lack of sleep can be a cause of diabetes? Sleep problems and diabetes may be linked together. Sleep can definitely be affected by high blood sugar levels and low blood sugar levels as well. I’ve often felt unsettled and warm at night when I climb into bed and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I just feel as though I toss and turn sometimes. I never remember having this issue before diabetes and high blood sugar. But a little apple cider vinegar and honey help me sleep at night.

Insomnia

Girl wide awake

For me and I’m sure you feel the same way, nothing is more frustrating than insomnia. You go to bed. You’re exhausted from a long day and can’t wait to fall asleep. You close your eyes and have visions of a good night’s sleep. Then after a few minutes, you’re wide awake and staring at the ceiling or the alarm clock. UGH! Ok, but what’s the cause you ask? It could be many things related or unrelated to diabetes and high blood sugar. The next morning I wake up stressed.

There’s most likely a few reasons that you’re having problems with sleep.

  1. Problems falling asleep
  2. Problems staying asleep
  3. Broken sleep, interrupted, waking up, can’t fall back to sleep

So what’s the real cause of your insomnia? Is it something a therapist can or should help you with? Maybe. If it’s a depression, anxiety, or similar circumstance it could be. I personally do not and never have taken sleeping pills or anything to help me sleep. It just worries me because I don’t want to be leaning on taking anything to go to sleep. Do you?

What can keep you up at night

  • Depression- thinking about yourself as being worthless or having no hope in your life
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption, and caffeine
  • Sleep apnea- interruptions of breathing and snoring
  • Stress and anxiety- worrying about money problems, your job, family matters, etc.
  • Getting up to urinate. High blood sugar is the cause.
  • Eating too close to bedtime. Lose the belly fat too. This will help.
  • High blood pressure. I have my own monitor to check at home.
  • Pain. Especially back pain or sciatica.

For me, I always had too much on my mind, information overload. It’s a habit that must be broken in order to sleep well. To lay there thinking about everything going on is totally frustrating. You too? Let’s see what tips can help solve this problem.

Tips for Routine Sleeping

You should have a set time that you retire each night. You want to get into a nightly routine so that your habits will aid you in getting a good night’s sleep. Remember that controlling your blood sugar can help with sleep problems. Now, not all of these tips may apply to you.

  • Have a light snack, but don’t eat two hours before bedtime
  • Listen to relaxing music. (I do this every night)
  • Try meditation
  • A warm bath can relax and soothe you
  • Sex may help induce sleep
  • Darkened room (Light shining in may keep you awake)
  • White noise (I put a fan or white noise machine on to sleep) It blocks out background noises
  • Long naps could affect your sleep at night
  • Lights off (I use room darkening blinds too)
  • Turn off electronics, phones, tablets, computers

Naps- Yes or No?

Man napping

Well, some studies say no, while most other say yes. A good nap between 20 and 30 minutes can recharge you but no longer than 30 minutes and I wouldn’t nap too close to dinner time. It’s a good idea not to nap after 3 p.m. if your bedtime is around 11 p.m. because it may affect your sleeping at night. Too early in the day and your body may not be ready for additional sleep.

Naps to refresh you and are good. You’ll be more alert afterward. Take a “cat nap” if you feel that you need it. Don’t nap if it’s because you’re lazy and just laying around. Find what works for you because there could be a connection between diabetes and fatigue.

Daytime lifestyle

Stressed woman

So what do you do during the day? It matters when it comes to bedtime. I know I try to get out in the sun and in Florida by going cycling outdoors and using my new exercise bike indoors, so there’s no excuse not to because I need vitamin D! Our brain needs melatonin to sleep and without the sunlight it’s not able to properly produce melatonin.

Stress is all around us. Nobody can deny that. It’s probably a good idea to spend a little time during the day to get the “worries” out of the way and not have to deal with them at night when you should be sawing wood peacefully. Don’t spend and focus too much on this, but just write things down and put them aside. Remember, everything works out for a reason!

Exercising is a necessity. You can’t sit around all day. I go to the gym, ride my bike, walk. Move. Do something for 30 minutes a day. Otherwise your body may not want to stay calm and relaxed at night. Just don’t exercise too late at night.

Sleep apnea

Probably sleep apnea is among the most common indicator for people with diabetes. If you’re familiar with sleep apnea, you know that you stop and start breathing while you’re sleeping. This occurs mostly with someone who is overweight and the extra fat in your neck constricts your airway. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced this (that I know of). Once you lose weight, you can get rid of this problem. Start eating healthy and exercise and try and not snack, especially at night.

If you are tired during the day and are not active, especially not exercising at all, then you most like have no desire and are not motivated to exercise and practice healthy tasks. We don’t need diabetes, sleep problems, or anything unhealthy. Sleep apnea can be controlled and kicked to the curb.

Leg movements and cramps at night

If your legs are constantly moving in bed at night, you may have restless leg syndrome which could have been brought on by diabetes, kidney issues, or neuropathy. If you also get leg cramps in the middle of the night, it could be from too much salt intake and/or not drinking enough water.

Now there are medications for restless leg syndrome that can help, but we’re all for NO medications, right? We want to do it the natural way! So, watch the salt, drink plenty of water. You don’t want to drink too much before bed otherwise you’ll be where? You guessed it! If you want to be up constantly visiting the bathroom, then you might as well sleep in there too!

Complications of diabetes

Any pain will keep you up at night and if you have pain related to diabetes, you will have a difficult time with your sleep. Diabetic neuropathy can definitely affect your sleep. Having a high blood sugar, or even low blood sugar for that matter, can be a cause of your restless sleep. I know when my blood sugar is high, I feel the effects because I’m fidgety in bed.

High blood sugar can cause many different things such as: frequent urination, headaches, and being thirsty, just to name a few. Getting up at night to urinate is a pain in the butt as you know if you experience this. It breaks your sleep habit, but you normally you get back to sleep quickly. I get up, but I’m used to it. As I improve my blood sugars, this will most likely diminish somewhat.

Low blood sugar can cause night sweats, headaches, hunger, and of course lead to uncomfortable and restless night’s sleep. Maintain your sugar levels at any cost. That’s the bottom line.

Summary

Sleep problems and diabetes. We don’t need either. It’s a given. Diabetes and high blood sugar? We don’t. That’s also a given. Sleep problems and diabetes do not need to be together anymore. Too much sleep or too little sleep is no good for you. The main point here is you need to get your blood sugars under control because it could be a real factor in why you’re having problems sleeping. Even if it ISN’T the main culprit? You have to get diabetes under control. I’m practicing what I preach. I want to have a healthy life, don’t you? Yes you! I’m zeroing in on you right now because you know what you need to do.

Final thoughts

I hoped you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions about sleep and diabetes connection, please leave a comment below.

 

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14 thoughts on “Sleep Problems and Diabetes- Essential Tips for Better Sleep

  1. I think that also working out in the evening can make it more difficult to go to sleep. However I also heard that taking a cold shower after a work out lowers body temperature and also allows you to fall asleep faster.
    Taking melatonin can help or some Passion Flower oil mixed with a little warm water can be a good natural aid for sleep.

    1. Yes melatonin does aid in a good night’s sleep. There are some oils that help as well. But either way, keep the workouts for during the day as well.

  2. I don’t have diabetes but occasionally suffer from sleep problem. It was worse when I was in a period of depression. I found listening to guided meditation track and hypnosis a good way to fall asleep.

    I have a bad habit of taking caffeinated drink close to sleep hours and I guess that doesn’t really help.I think the type of pillows and mattress that we’re using play an important role too for a good sleep. What’s your thought?

    1. Yes Kenny, I feel the meditation and hypnosis are great ways to help fall asleep. Caffeine before bed, definitely a hindrance. I agree with the type of pillows and the too hard, too soft mattress play a role as well.

  3. I think we all have a restless night from time to time, but if you are struggling to sleep on a regular basis, I can imagine how frustrating this must be. I consider myself to lead a pretty healthy life, but is there any dietary advice you can give me to help avoid developing diabetes in later years. I also found it interesting what you said about white noise helping you to sleep. I have always found this helps me to drift off, but thought this was just one of my oddities.

    1. The best advice I can give to avoid developing diabetes is to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Watch the sugar intake. The white noise I started doing many years ago to block out outside noise. When I travel and stay in hotels I always take my box fan. No oddity at all Daniel. It’s a life saver!

  4. My dad has diabetes and also sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a very scary thing! I remember when I was very young my dad would wake up at night gasping for air…. we had no clue what it was until of course he was shortly after diagnosed. He also had to learn about the “not eating 2 hours before bedtime” routine the hard way as well. Great article, thanks for sharing.

    1. I’ve never experienced sleep apnea but I can imagine it’s very scary. It’s one less thing to go through if you have diabetes. On the road to good health!

  5. I had no idea something like diabetes could cause sleep insomnia. I think stress is my number one reason I have trouble falling asleep some nights. It has become a bit less lately. I like how you mention sex can help with sleep. I think I might want to give that one a try! Thanks for the great read!

    1. Yes Kenny, stress can do it as well. It causes many health issues. Good choice on the sex choice! I’m sure it can’t hurt. LOL

  6. Hi and thanks for a great informative article. I feel just lately that I really should get checked for high blood sugar. My toes are sometimes painful when I’m trying to fall asleep. I read that this could be a sign of high sugar. I also don’t go to sleep and sleep enough which isn’t healthy at all. I love taking an hour or two siesta but as you wrote it’s not good to sleep too much during the day as it affects the night-time sleep. Thanks for some great tips! I’ll definitely be back for more.

    1. Yes Hannah you definitely want to know what your blood sugar numbers are. I never used to check mine and that’s not good. Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t cut it here. At least knowing what your numbers are, you can address it. I also never nap more than 30 minutes a day because it does affect me at night.

  7. I think exercise is one of the key points to keeping your bloodsugar at a correct level. This together with good and regular eating habits will go a long way to get the bloodsugar right and thus improve your sleep.
    I had a neighbour who bought a dog for their young diabetic daughter simply for the purpose that she should get more exercise. It helped a lot and improve her bloodsugar as well as her sleep.

    1. Exercise is truly one of the keys in fighting diabetes. Controlling your blood sugars and eating right will also help your sleep patterns too. It’s a shame that a young child should have diabetes and buying a dog for exercise help is a great idea. Any way you can get some form of exercise helps tremendously.

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