(CMR) Eating healthy and staying physically active is very important if you have Type 2 diabetes; however, that may not be good enough if you are not getting adequate sleep. Making sure you get good sleep is a vital part of staying healthy, particularly if you have Type 2 diabetes.
According to Everyday Health, your brain stores memories during sleep, your muscles are repaired, your heart rate goes down, and your blood pressure falls. Lower resting heart rate and blood pressure are critical if you have Type 2 diabetes since having the condition makes you twice as likely to be diagnosed with heart disease.
Sleep is also essential for hormone regulation, and insulin is a hormone. Poor sleep is believed to play a significant role in insulin resistance and can result in high blood sugar. “If you are struggling to gain control of your blood glucose, getting the recommended 7-plus hours of sleep could be the game-changer.
Seven hours is actually a sweet spot for sleep. Everyday Health reports that in a study on adults who had prediabetes or were recently diagnosed with — but untreated for — type 2 diabetes, sleeping fewer than five hours or longer than eight hours per night was associated with a higher A1C level compared with those who got a more moderate amount of sleep, according to a study published in May 2019 in the journal Diabetes Care.
Sleeping fewer than six hours per night was also associated with a higher BMI, which increases the risk for type 2 diabetes and makes blood sugar levels harder to control.
Along with physiological changes, sleep deprivation also prompts people to consume more calories and decreases their ability to make nutritious choices and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This can lead to an increased risk for diabetes and obesity.
The relationship between sleep and blood sugar levels goes the other way, too. When your blood sugar is high, you will tend to want to use the bathroom more at night. This can severely disrupt your sleep.
It’s also important to know that if your blood sugar dips too low (below 70 mg/dL) in your sleep, you may experience a condition called nocturnal hypoglycemia, or you may have restless sleep, have nightmares, and sweat in your sleep. In addition, patients with diabetes are up to three times more likely to have depression compared with the general public, but just one-quarter to one-half get help, according to the CDC.
According to Everyday Health, here’s what Chauntae Reynolds, a spokesperson for the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists, advises patients to do to get better sleep with type 2 diabetes.
-Set a bed- and wake time. “On the weekend, you might sleep in, and then the Monday blues set in, and it’s tough to get up. So keep a set wake and bedtime for every day, which is important for sleep quality,” she says.
-Go screen-free. The time to scroll through your phone is not when you climb into bed, as blue light suppresses melatonin, a hormone necessary for falling asleep.
-Exercise. Physical activity not only helps improve insulin sensitivity by encouraging muscle cells to take up blood glucose for energy but is also associated with better sleep, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
-Clean up your sleep hygiene. Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet to set the stage for a restful night (and waking up less).
-Find your wind-down routine. Take a warm shower, do a relaxing skincare routine, read a book, or write in a journal — whatever helps you prepare for bed. Keeping a mood journal (writing about your feelings and emotions) can play a role in decreasing anxiety surrounding chronic conditions like diabetes, suggests the ADA.
-Drink smart. Avoid caffeine at least 8 hours before bedtime, and don’t drink alcohol before bed. Both can cut into sleep quality, says Reynolds.
-Avoid having a heavy meal. Not only can heavy meals impact your blood sugar levels, but eating one close to bedtime can keep your blood sugar high overnight, which will affect the quality of your sleep, says Reynolds.