Sleep and diabetes management

Sleep factors which may affect Type 2 Diabetes management

Medical professionals are currently investigating the connection between sleep and diabetes management. It is recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. People who have diabetes may be at risk for insomnia, sleep apnea and/or restless legs Michigan State University Extension offers several classes to help prevent and manage diabetes.

If you’re diabetic and your blood sugars are high, your body will try and rid itself of excess glucose levels through urination. Diabetics who have high blood sugars at bedtime will have frequent urination throughout the night, which can interfere with sleeping throughout the night. Studies show that two out three diabetics have obstructive sleep apnea, in which the breathing airways narrows or closes. A person can have pauses in breathing or their breathing can stop while sleeping. Sleep apnea can decrease the blood flow to the brain which signals the brain to wake the body up and this interferes with sound sleep. Your doctor can help you with breathing better, if it is determined that you have sleep apnea. Recommendations could be moderate weight loss or the use of a breathing device, which can open up your airways.

Health professionals state that people who are diabetic and not getting enough sleep are tired and they tend to eat more foods that are high in sugar to get more energy, which raises blood sugar. It is recommended that diabetics eat healthy meals throughout the day in order to keep their glucose levels normal so that they can get quality sleep at night and have more energy the next day. Getting control of irregular sleep patterns may help people who have diabetes get sound quality sleep and improve their diabetic management.

Sleep experts recommendations for more restful nights:

Set a schedule: Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day (yes, even on weekends) can help the body establish a healthy sleep/wake cycle. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol, these substances can disrupt sleep and should be avoided, especially in the evening.

Get in the mood: A soothing bedtime routine can ease the transition from wakefulness to sleepiness. Try getting into the habit of taking a bubble bath or listening to peaceful music just before lights out.

Exercise earlier in the day: People who are physically active sleep better. However, stimulating activity just before bedtime can actually keep you awake, so do your exercise in the morning or (early evening) right after work for the best results.

Your bedroom: Turn the room into a sleep-friendly environment by making it dark, quiet, relaxing, clean, and not too hot or too cold. Mattresses and pillows should be comfortable. Also, don’t eat, work, or, of course, smoke in bed; remove TVs, computers, and other gadgets from the bedroom. Don’t go to bed on a full stomach, eating a big meal or drinking too much just before bed can cause discomfort while sleeping because of heartburn and frequent urination during the night.

Consider medication: If you’ve tried everything and adequate sleep is still elusive, it may be time for extra help from a health care professional. Effective sleep aids are available by prescription and over the counter. But don’t start taking sleeping pills without talking to your doctor first; they may interfere with other medications you are taking, and they don’t all affect sleep the same way. If you think you may have sleep apnea, consult a medical specialist.

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