World Diabetes Day: Know the Importance of Sleep in Diabetic Care
Between completing your office tasks and household chores, getting enough time to sleep may seem like a luxury. Not resting well is not just inconvenient but also harmful for your body. It is so because sleep gives your brain and body enough time to relax and reset. It provides your neurons time to shut down and repair. Also, when you sleep, your body conserves energy that is utilized by the immune system to fight invaders and heal injuries.
With that said, you should know that the number of hours you rest is even more crucial if you are suffering from any chronic illness. For type 2 diabetic patients, catching seven to eight hours of sleep during the night is necessary. Failure to do so can negatively impact their blood sugar levels both in the long and short run. To know more about the link between diabetes and sleep and the effects of lack of proper rest in diabetic patients, read further!
How is lack of sleep-related to diabetes?
Resting is crucial for the health and well-being of diabetic patients. A study on the lack of sleep in diabetic patients suggests that sick people who slept for more (or less) than seven hours have a high mortality risk as compared to others. The link between these two is two-way as one affects another.
People who catch less sleep are at risk of high blood sugar levels. Even partial sleep deprivation over a night leads to insulin resistance. The job of insulin is to help your body synthesize glucose. But, because of the resistance, your cells fail to use the hormones efficiently, which, in turn, escalates the blood sugar levels. This can be a precursor to diabetes as this chronic condition occurs when your system is not producing insulin in the right quantity or the cells are not utilizing it properly.
Another way sleep is connected to diabetes is that people who have high blood sugar experience trouble in falling asleep. It is so because such patients have unstable sugar levels accompanied by other diabetes-related problems. These issues keep you up at night and cause next-day fatigue. Also, people with high blood sugar levels urinate more often. The frequent trips to the washroom further disturb your sleep.
What complications are caused by lack of sleep?
Those who have diabetes must be cautious about the hours of rest they get, or else their condition can become harder to manage. It is so because lack of sleep can lead to the following complications:
- Impairment of your immune system that will further make you more vulnerable to diseases
- Increased depression or anxiety, which can worsen your condition
- Trouble in losing weight
- Raised BP and increased risk of a heart attack
- The feeling of hunger that can lead to overeating
- Spike in sugar resistance
- Increased appetite for junk food that is rich in carbs and sugar
How can you ensure proper rest if you have diabetes?
Practice good sleep hygiene
While it is true that everyone should get proper rest, people suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes should be more careful about their sleep hygiene. Just like eating and exercising, getting adequate sleep is also crucial for their good health. They should not compromise with it for meetings or chatting on the phone. Also, if diabetic patients take afternoon naps, they must remember to not sleep for more than 20 minutes during the early afternoon, or they might experience difficulty falling asleep at night.
Check for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Patients with type 2 diabetes are likely to have obstructive sleep apnea. According to the Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India, patients who have T2DM must be diagnosed and treated for OSA to potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Even though the cause of OSA in diabetic patients is still unclear, experts suggest that excess fat in your neck makes you likely to develop OSA. In addition, irregular breathing because of sleep apnea can result in poor quality sleep. Thus, all diabetes patients are recommended to take a home sleep test. And, if you are diagnosed with OSA, you should get proper treatment as advised by your doctor.
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Put away your phones and gadgets
If you have diabetes and you love scrolling your phone until you fall asleep, then it might be messing with your health. Experts suggest that exposure to the bright light coming off from your TV or smartphone disrupts your sleep. It also alters your metabolism and increases sugar resistance. Thus, to gain good-quality sleep throughout the night, you should turn off your laptop, phone, and any other electronic device at least 30 minutes before bed.
Try to reduce your stress
As you juggle between your duties at the office and home, it might appear impossible to avoid stress. However, you should still try to de-stress. It is so because increased stress can cause your body to release cortisol and adrenaline. Usually, the hormones subside once the threat is eliminated and the body goes back to its normal self. But, with chronic stress caused because of diabetes, this does not happen. As a result, you may find yourself tossing and turning in your bed throughout the night. So, to prevent this situation, you should exercise and practice yoga.
Sleep is significant for ensuring the fitness of your mind and body. And, if you are a victim of any chronic condition like diabetes, then you should be even more careful about your sleep schedule. Since failing to do so can lead to health complications, you should seriously follow the tips mentioned above and sleep peacefully.
Disclaimer: The facts and information contained in this article are obtained from reputed medical research organizations and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & beliefs of ResMed. The content here should not be taken as medical advice. The content is for informational purposes only and because each person is so unique, please consult a healthcare professional for any medical queries.