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.
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.
- Problems falling asleep
- Problems staying asleep
- 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?
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.
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.
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.
Sleep. We need it. It’s a given. Diabetes and high blood sugar? We don’t. That’s also a given. 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.
I hoped you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions about sleep and diabetes connection, please leave a comment below.