You probably know that watching what you eat is important for managing your diabetes, but you may not realize that how you sleep can have a big impact too. In fact, the relationship between diabetes and sleep runs two ways.
Sleep issues can increase your risk for diabetes, and diabetes can interfere with your sleep.
If you’re living with diabetes, ask yourself whether you’re tossing and turning at night. Learning more about the connection between diabetes and sleep can help you to protect your health.
Diabetes Management Tips for Protecting Your Sleep:
There are several common symptoms of diabetes that are likely to keep you up at night.
Try these strategies for keeping them under control:
1. Eat a balanced diet. When you’re tired, you may be tempted to seek energy from junk food and excess calories, but that backfires by spiking your blood sugar levels, which means you’ll be making frequent trips to the bathroom at night to urinate. Break the cycle by consuming adequate portions of wholesome foods earlier in the day.
2. Stay hydrated. Diabetes can also make you thirsty. Keep a water bottle by your bed in case you need a sip.
3. Treat apnea. Apnea causes pauses in breathing while you sleep, and it’s often associated with diabetes. Masks and other devices are available that can open your airways and provide relief.
4. Attend to RLS. Restless Leg Syndrome is another condition that may accompany diabetes. Massage, exercise, and medication may help if you’re bothered by the urge to move your legs at night.
5. Lose weight. Slimming down can help you to prevent diabetes or reduce the symptoms. It also lowers your risk for apnea.
6. Talk with your doctor. If you’re still up at night, your doctor may suggest a sleep study. Being monitored while you sleep is an effective way to target your individual needs.
Sleeping Tips for Lowering Your Risk of Diabetes:
1. Sleep deprivation can cause hormonal changes similar to diabetes. When you’re short on rest, your body may have trouble using insulin efficiently, so your blood sugar rises. In addition, lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, which is also a risk factor for diabetes.
2. Keep a consistent schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day. That includes weekends and holidays.
3. Deal with stress. Knowing how to relax makes it easier to drop off to sleep faster. Develop a daily meditation practice or find a hobby that helps you release tension.
4. Darken your bedroom. Bright lights stimulate your brain. Stay away from television and computer screens for at least a couple of hours before bedtime. Consider installing blackout curtains in your bedroom.
5. Block out noise. If noisy neighbors and car alarms are disrupting your dreams, screen out the background sounds. Use a white noise machine or turn on a fan.
6. Change your bedding. It may be time to replace your mattress if it’s causing discomfort. Strategically placed pillows can help too. For example, support your hips with a small cushion between your knees if you lie on your side.
7. Exercise regularly. Many studies show that adults who exercise report having better sleep. Aim to work out for at least 30 minutes on at least 3 days a week. Find a variety of activities you enjoy and will want to stick with.
More than 30 million Americans are currently living with diabetes, and that number is expected to double or triple by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleeping well can help you to reduce your risk or manage the symptoms of diabetes so you can lead a longer and more active life.