Diabetes & Sleep – The Importance of a Good Night’s Rest

As virtually anyone can attest, not getting enough sleep is a problem. Ranging from a simple issue like not feeling your best, to a massive issue like falling asleep while behind the wheel of a vehicle, a lack of sleep is widely acknowledged as a problem that requires remediation. This issue is particularly true of men and women diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

“Why is that?” you may ask.

Sleep and All It Does For You

Sleeping is a crucial function in the human body. Aside from providing rest, your body’s digestive, immune and nervous systems all use the time you sleep to function without interference. Increasing bodies of research are showing that this is also true for your body’s insulin production and metabolism. During periods of rest, your body can effectively metabolize fat and regulate blood sugar.

Sleep & Diabetes

These studies are of interest for both individuals who have already been diagnosed with Type 2 and those who are at high risk for developing the condition. For those who have not yet ventured into an official diagnosis, there may be some hope: increasing the quality and quantity of sleep may improve the ability to metabolize fat and regulate blood sugar levels and to achieve overall health.

For people who have already been diagnosed with diabetes, regularly getting 8-10 hours of sleep will result in an increased ability to metabolize fat and regulate your blood sugar, consequently lowering blood pressure and weight.

Not All Sleep is Created Equal

Although improving the amount of time you sleep is certain to aid in the management of your condition, there is a caveat: not all sleep is created equal. Sleeping after prolonged exposure to blue light (light emitted from phones, computers, and television screens) results in lighter, more disturbed sleep, as does going to sleep later in the evening (typically identified as 11 PM and later). To truly harness the power of sleep, you must not only lengthen your sleep duration, but improve your sleep quality, as well.

Maximizing Your Zs 

To reap the maximum benefits of sleep, make sure you are entering a relaxed state before getting into bed. If you prefer to use screens right before bed, you can download blue-light-reducing apps or programs, or you can use special glasses designed to minimize the effects of blue light.

If you typically go to sleep quite late, gradually move your bedtime up by 15-20 minutes until you can consistently be in bed by 10 PM or earlier. This is best achieved by using dim lighting once the sun has gone down, avoiding electronics and stimulants (think coffee, tea, and chocolate), and creating a nightly routine to tell your body it is time for rest.

When managing your diabetes, no stone is too small to go unturned. Make your sleep work for you and enjoy the results of a more effective metabolism and consistently regulated blood sugar and insulin production.

[expand title=”References“]
Web MD. Accessed 3/23/17
ADA. Accessed 3/23/17.
NCBI. Accessed 3/23/17. [/expand]

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