How Diabetes Affects Sleep – There are studies that show a link between diabetes as well as sleep disorders, where diabetics experience lack of sleep from time to time which can exacerbate your condition. The question now is what is the connection between diabetes and sleep?
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetic patients suffer from insulin resistance or are not capable of producing insulin which often leads to plenty of sugar in their urine and blood. Around 30 million Americans are included in the diabetic population have some form of diabetes with around 84 million who are prediabetic. This condition, without proper treatment, can lead to Type II diabetes mellitus within a period of five years.
Insulin is produced by the pancreas to help open the cells for glucose to enter so that your body will be able to convert it into energy. Glucose comes from the food that you are consuming since the body transforms them into sugar. However, if you have diabetes, your insulin production isn’t working.
There are different types of diabetes and these are:
Type 1 Diabetes
This is the most severe type of diabetes which is referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes or “juvenile” diabetes since its prevalence is mostly found in kids and teenagers, but this doesn’t mean that adults won’t get it. In this type of mellitus, your own immune system is attacking your pancreas since it mistakes the insulin production as something that it needs to protect your body from.
Type 2 Diabetes
This is the most common type diabetes mellitus which is also referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes and typically occurs in adults at the age of 35. However, there is a study that show that younger people are starting to develop Type 2 diabetes as well. Diabetes mellitus patients who have this type of diabetes are able to produce insulin but it’s not always enough to open the cells to absorb glucose. Those who are prone to this condition are those who are obese patients or are living a sedentary lifestyle.
How Does Diabetes Affect Sleep?
How does diabetes and sleep affect one another? Those who have diabetes mellitus often suffer from sleep deprivation because of their constant need to urinate at night. This can disrupt their sleep pattern which can lead to daytime sleepiness. Diabetes sleep problems often go hand in hand since this condition can make you lose sleep. And because you are not getting hours of sleep, you are putting yourself at risk of making your diabetes condition even worse. So, how diabetes affects sleep? If you’ve been eating a lot during the day because your body is craving energy, the amount and type of food that you eat can cause your blood sugar levels to go up. This spike in your blood sugar can cause your kidneys to flush them out hence the need to go to the bathroom several times in the night which disrupts your sleep.
Can A Lack Of Sleep Lead To Diabetes?
You’re probably wondering what the fuss is all about between diabetes and sleep. Most people nowadays are not getting enough sleep, and if they do, the sleep quality isn’t that good at all because of the constant interruptions, from the need to urinate, your phone beeping, and whatnot. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, and even put you at risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Here’s how it works: when you are suffering from poor sleep quality for several days, your body will feel tired, and will be turning to food to get its energy. This can lead to a sudden spike to your blood sugar levels and may prevent your pancreas from producing insulin properly hence you are in a constant state of poor glycemic control which can lead to diabetes. Since your body is in desperate need of fuel, your brain cannot tell whether you are full already or not hence the tendency to overeat which causes you to gain weight. Again, this process puts you at risk of acquiring diabetes. With your body’s glucose metabolism compromised, it will be difficult for you to regulate your blood sugar levels thus leading you to suffering from diabetes problems.
Sleep Apnea And Diabetes – Everything You Need To Know
A lot of people are wondering why diabetes sleep go hand in hand. As it was mentioned before, diabetic patients often experience sleep disruption because of their constant need to go to the bathroom. This deprives them of their much-needed rest hence they become prone to various sleep problems such as sleep disordered apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder where your breathing stops or hitches while you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)is the most common form of apnea and it is best described as your throat tending to close off while you are breathing. This is caused by the muscles that are keeping your throat open collapse or relax while you sleep. Those who are overweight are prone to habitual snoring because of the extra muscles around the area. There are many factors influencing the onset of sleep apnea OSA and one of them is because of diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
When it comes to understanding sleep apnea and diabetes, it is best that you start with the signs and symptoms of the sleep disorder first. Here are a few that are worth mentioning:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Waking up with dry mouth or sore throat
- High blood pressure
- Loud snoring
- Sudden waking along with choking and gasping for air
- A headache in the morning
- Mood changes
- Nighttime sweating
- Hunger cravings
If you exhibit these symptoms, it is important that you consult with your doctor to determine whether you have sleep disordered breathing that needs to be remedied as soon as possible.
Patients who are diagnosed with sleep apnea can affect both their sleep quantity as well as sleep quality since their sleep is often disrupted because of their disordered breathing. This means that patients are stuck in lighter stages of sleep hence they experience REM sleep deprivation.
Since you are not able to enter REM sleep, you are missing out on an important process. Suffering from acute sleep deprivation because of sleep apnea can put you at a higher risk of diabetes since there are many areas that can be disrupted such as your growth hormone, mood, immune function, and even your eating habits which can lead to diabetic neuropathy or damage to your nerves. This is why, if you suspect that you are suffering from any sleep disorder, you need to get diagnosed and treated fast.
Recommendations For Sleep Apnea And Diabetes
There is no doubt that diabetes sleep are interconnected which is why it is important for us to find a way to alleviate these two health conditions so that we can banish poor sleep. If you are worried that you have diabetes or are prediabetic, you will undergo a glucose tolerance test first to determine what condition you have. If you do have diabetes mellitus, these tips on how to improve your sleep can help you regulate your blood sugar levels and protect you from sleep disorders like sleep apnea as well.
Create a sleep routine
If you want to be able to keep your blood sugar levels stable, you will need to set up a sleep routine where you will go to bed and wake up on the same hours every day, including weekends. This trains your body to know when it should start relaxing and waking naturally.
Turn off your devices
We are all guilty of checking our phones while we are in bed which can affect our ability to sleep well at night. The bright light that comes from our devices can stimulate our brain to the point that we lie awake at night. If you want to be able to fall asleep on time, turn off your devices at least half an hour before you go to bed so that your brain will be at a calm and relaxed state.
Another tip to help you improve your sleep time is to exercise but not a few hours close to bedtime. Exercising helps you lose weight and to improve your muscle tone but doing it close to bedtime can make it difficult for you to fall asleep since your heart rate is on overdrive. Make sure that you schedule your workout early in the morning or right after work, so you will have ample time to lower your heart rate in time for bed.
If you find yourself constantly snoring at night to the point that your sleep as well as your partner’s is disrupted most of the time, you might want to start losing weight especially when you are carrying extra pounds on your body. Like it was mentioned before, obesity can put you at risk of diabetes sleep apnea which means that, if you lose weight, you will be able to lessen the symptoms of your condition.
Some doctors can recommend that you use continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine to help you breathe better at night. What this machine does is to boost the air pressure in your throat so the muscles around it won’t collapse. Patients who have sleep apnea have noticed a considerable improvement to their condition because of this therapy. And when this machine helps you breathe better at night, your diabetes symptoms are less likely to crop up.
Another recommendation to those who are suffering from sleep apnea and diabetes might want to consider using dental appliances to alleviate their problem. A dental appliance pushes your lower jaw forward to help open your airway. This helps reduce your snoring at night.
If both CPAP and dental appliances didn’t work in reducing your snoring at night, it is possible that undergoing surgery can help. In this surgery, the extra tissue in your throat will be removed to reduce obstruction in your airway.
Manage glucose levels
Your glycemic index can help you determine whether your blood sugar is going up or down. With that being said, if you are diabetic, you will need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels to ensure that it is in the right number. This means that you will have to be careful with what you eat as the types and amount of food that you are eating can play a part in your glucose levels. Skip the carbs or reduce your intake of them to stabilize your blood sugar.
Skip the stimulants
Drinking caffeine or even alcoholic beverages before bedtime is not recommended as these are stimulants that can disrupt your sleep. Although some drink wine to help them feel calm and relaxed, it doesn’t translate to a good night’s sleep because you will most likely get up in the middle of the night to urinate. This disrupts your sleep which can cause daytime sleepiness afterward.
Keep your bedroom a relaxing environment
Another recommendation when it comes to treating sleep apnea and diabetes is to ensure that your bedroom is a relaxing place for you to sleep. Make your bed comfortable, and that the air circulating in your space. Remove any items that can disrupt your sleep such as TV, glaring lights, and even the digital alarm clock by your bedside as the lights can disrupt your sleep.
Diabetes and sleep disorders are linked together. Those who are prediabetic or even diabetic are prone to sleep disorders like sleep apnea because of the sleep disruption that they are often subjected to. Learning how to manage these conditions can make it easier for you to get a good night’s sleep which, in turn, can fight off sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders, thus reducing your risk of diabetes.