The Diabetes and Sleep Connection
Too little sleep can raise your diabetes risk. If you already have diabetes, sleep loss can undermine blood sugar control.
Diabetes and Sleep: Sleep Loss and Blood Sugar Control
If you already have type 2 diabetes, poor sleep may make it tougher for you
to maintain good blood sugar control, Knutson says.
She was the lead researcher in a 2006 study published in Archives of
Internal Medicine that followed 161 African-Americans with type 2 diabetes.
Those who reported too little sleep or poor-quality sleep were more likely to
have poor blood sugar control than the well-rested subjects, she says.
6 Tips for Better Sleep
Whether or not you have diabetes, experts offer these 6 tips to help you get
1. Keep Regular Bedtime and Waking Hours.
This is easier said than done in today's 24-7 society. But experts say you
may have less trouble falling asleep if you stick to a regular bedtime and wake
time -- even on weekends.
Be careful about napping too much or too late in the day, which can make it
harder to fall asleep at night. Rather than napping, take a walk to refresh
yourself, says Sheldon Gottlieb, MD, director of the Diabetes-Heart Failure
Program at Johns-Hopkins, LLC.
2. Create the Right Sleep Environment.
Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and comfortable. Maintain the temperature
between 54 F. to 75 F. Cut noise with earplugs or "white noise"
machines. Also, keep the room dark. You can block light with heavy shades or
curtains, or use an eye mask.
A comfortable mattress and pillow make sleep more restful. If your mattress
is getting old, consider buying a new one that offers better support.
Keep pets out of your bed. They may wake you if you have allergies or if
their movement disturbs you.
3. Reserve the Bedroom for Sleep and Sex.
Think "bedroom," not "home office." Use your bedroom only
for sleep or sex, not for paying bills or tackling a pile of paperwork.
Consider banning computers and televisions from the bedroom. That way, you'll
cut the temptation to stay up Internet-surfing or watching old sitcoms.
Ultimately, you're trying to create a mental association between the bedroom
and sleep. If you lie in bed awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and do a
relaxing activity, such as reading, until you feel sleepy. Don't lie there
staring at your clock. This makes you anxious, and sleep more elusive.
4. Don't Wind Up. Wind Down.
Going to bed soon? Not a great time to break out the kick-boxing exercise
video. Sleep experts suggest that you finish exercising at least three hours
before turning in. Exercise raises body temperature and heightens alertness --
two obstacles to falling asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
At the same time, exercising earlier in the day may help to improve your
Instead of winding yourself up before bedtime, try winding down. Establish a
relaxing bedtime routine, which might include reading or taking a warm bath.
Not only will the heat relax you, but afterward, your body temperature will
drop in a way that partially mimics what happens when you fall asleep. That
makes it easier to drift off.