The Surprising Link between Diabetes and Sleep

If you have diabetes, or are at risk for diabetes, then you might not be getting enough sleep at night. But getting enough sleep is definitely important when you are trying to control your blood sugar. Unfortunately, diabetes and sleep deprivation go hand-in-hand for a few different reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the links between diabetes and sleep.

Frequent Urination

One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is frequent urination accompanied by thirst. However, this is also a diabetes symptom that can affect your sleep. Most people are able to sleep through the night without having to get up to urinate. People with diabetes do not have that luxury. Someone with diabetes may get up two or three times during the night to go to the bathroom. Obviously, this causes sleep problems, and there isn’t much that you can do about it.

Blood Sugar Spikes

In addition, you can affect your sleep in other ways. If you aren’t planning on going to bed for a couple of hours and you suddenly get tired, what most people do (rather than going to bed) is to eat something. In diabetics, this can cause a spike in blood sugar levels that is going to affect your sleep. However, you can combat this by eating properly throughout the day rather than waiting until evening and then eating because you feel tired.

The bottom line is, diabetes has symptoms that cause sleep problems, and people with diabetes have more sleep problems than other people. But what about looking at it from the other side? Is there a link between sleep and diabetes from the opposite perspective? Can lack of sleep actually contribute to diabetes?

Sleep Problems and Diabetes Risk

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes. There is a significant amount of evidence that shows a link between those who have a difficult time getting enough sleep and those who get diabetes. There is some research showing that not getting enough sleep could lead to pre-diabetes – which will eventually lead to the actual disease. The reason that this happens is that the body has a physiological reaction to lack of sleep that mimics insulin resistance. That means that the body is not able to process the glucose that you get from food, causing blood sugar levels to rise.

If those levels continue to rise – and they will if you continue to not get enough sleep – then blood sugar levels will keep rising until you have full-blown diabetes. There is also evidence that shows a link between diabetes and sleep apnea. Both diabetics and those who suffer with sleep apnea are often overweight. Sleep apnea causes you to have trouble breathing at night and that makes it so that you do not get a good night’s sleep. These things are all linked and there is no doubt that you are at an increased risk for diabetes if you have sleep problems – and vice versa.

How to Solve Sleep Problems

There are several ways that you can try to solve your sleep problems. One of the best tips is to make sure that you aren’t turning on the TV at night. While many people like to watch TV until they fall asleep, the truth is that a good show can keep you interested and make it difficult to fall asleep. Don’t exercise before bed and make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get your full eight hours. Here is some more information if you want to know more about sleep and getting enough of it.


Image courtesy of [nenetus] at

Image courtesy of [tiverylucky] at

Related Posts

Leave a Comment