Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Why Is Sleep So Important?


You know what they say: “Learn from your mistakes.” This is especially important when it comes to managing diabetes — as some mistakes can be more serious than others. Here's a lesson you can take away to care for your condition like a pro.

Management Mistake: Losing sleep

If you find yourself yawning all day long, chances are good that you’re not getting enough sleep. Foregoing an hour here and there might not seem like much, but skimping on snooze-time can be detrimental to good blood sugar management. Not only can chronic sleep deprivation increase your appetite and cravings for carb-heavy foods, warns says Ann Doherty, RN, CDE, manager of the diabetes center at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, CA, but it can also lead to elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can increase insulin resistance. This combination of carb cravings and increased insulin resistance spells trouble for glucose management, not to mention leaves you vulnerable to fatigue-related stress during the day, which, adds Doherty, can also raise blood sugar levels. 

Mistake Managed! A first, easy step toward better sleep is simply making sure that your bedroom is set up for a good night's sleep — when you turn in for the night, make sure the bedroom is dark, quiet and conducive to catching those Z’s. If racing thoughts are keeping you up at night, do as Doherty suggests, and settle on a soothing mantra that you can repeat in your mind to quiet anxieties. Additionally, be aware of other potential diabetes-related sleep roadblocks. Frequent urination and restless leg syndrome also can prevent people with diabetes from getting a solid 8 hours of shut-eye, according to Doherty. If your sleep is suffering, alert your health care provider and ask for their recommendation, which may include medications to help with these issues.


Publsihed on April 20th, 2015.


—by Katie Lewin. Katie is a health and lifestyle writer living in San Francisco.

Reviewed by Shira Goldenholz, MD, MPH on February 13, 2015.
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