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Diabetes and Sleep Disorders

Diabetes and sleep are intricately connected, and many people with type 2 diabetes experience poor sleep quality or Insomnia  But careful attention to diet, exercise, and blood sugar levels can make a world of difference to sleep quality and, in turn, to overall health.

It’s estimated that one in two people  with type 2 diabetes have sleep problems due to unstable blood sugar levels and accompanying diabetes-related symptoms, High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during the night can lead to Insomnia and next-day fatigue. As with many chronic conditions, feelings of depression or stress about the disease itself may also keep you awake at night.

When blood sugar levels are high the kidneys overcompensate by causing to urinate more often. During the night, these frequent trips to the bathroom lead to disrupted sleep. High blood sugar may also cause headaches, increased thirst, and tiredness that can interfere with falling asleep.

By contrast, long hours of fasting, eating or taking the wrong balance of diabetes medication can also lead to low blood sugar levels  at night causing  nightmares, break out into a sweat, or irritation or confusion when you wake up.

Just as diabetes can cause sleep problems, sleep problems also appear to play a role in diabetes. Getting poor sleep or less restorative slow wave sleep has been linked to high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and prediabetes Researchers believe that sleep restriction may affect blood sugar levels due to its effects on insulin, cortisol, and oxidative stress

One-quarter of people with diabetes report sleeping less than six hours or more than eight hours a night, which puts them at a higher risk of having elevated blood sugar. Sleep deprivation also raises the risk of developing insulin resistance

Sleep deprivation raises levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and decreases levels of leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full. To compensate for lower energy levels, people who sleep poorly may be more likely to seek relief in foods that raise blood sugar and put them at risk of obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes.

Adults with type 2 diabetes who experience disturbed sleep or frequent night time awakenings may also be less likely to follow other standards for diabetes self-care, such as getting enough exercise and closely monitoring blood glucose levels.

In addition to its immediate effects on blood sugar levels, poor sleep can take a long-term toll on individuals with type 2 diabetes. Those who resort to sleep medication or who have trouble staying asleep are more likely to report feeling serious psychological distress. There is also tentative evidence to suggest that people with diabetes who do not get enough sleep may be at a higher risk for cognitive decline  later in life.