Sleep And Diabetes


There are studies showing associations between sleep disturbance and diabetes. Sleep disturbance includes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleeping too much. Sleep deprivation is a significant risk factor for diabetes, which can sometimes be controlled. Certain symptoms are more likely to cause issues when you’re trying to rest:

  • High blood sugar levels can cause frequent urination. If your blood sugar is high at night, you could end up getting up frequently to use the bathroom.
  • When your body has extra glucose, it draws water from your tissues. This can make you feel dehydrated, prompting you to get up for regular glasses of water.
  • The symptoms of low blood sugar, such as shakiness, dizziness, and sweating, can affect your sleep.

Are there sleep disorders connected to diabetes?

Sleep apnea

This is the most common sleep disorder in people with diabetes. Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. Sleep apnea is more commonly found in people with type 2 diabetes. This is because people in this group often carry excess weight, which can constrict their air passage. Common symptoms include feeling tired during the day and snoring at night. You’re more at risk for sleep apnea if it runs in the family or if you’re obese. Reaching a healthy weight for your body type may help relieve your symptoms. You can also wear a special mask during sleep to increase air pressure to your throat and allow you to breathe easier.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS)

RLS is characterized by a constant urge to move your legs. It’s most common in the evening hours, which can make it harder to fall or stay asleep. RLS may occur due to an iron deficiency. Risk factors for RLS include high blood glucose levels, kidney problems, and thyroid disorders.


Insomnia is characterized by recurrent trouble falling and staying asleep. You’re more at risk for insomnia if you have high stress levels along with high glucose levels. Look into the reason why you can’t fall asleep, such as working in a high-stress job or experiencing challenging family issues. Seeking treatment with a medical professional may help you determine what’s triggering the problem.

How a lack of sleep can affect your diabetes

Experts associate a lack of sleep with an altered hormone balance that can affect food intake and weight. If you have diabetes, you face a challenging circle. It’s common to compensate for a lack of sleep by eating an excess amount of food to try to gain energy through calories. This can cause your blood sugar levels to rise and make it harder to achieve a decent amount of sleep. Then, you may find yourself in this same sleepless situation.

A lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity. Being obese can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Tips for improving your quality of sleep

Follow these tips to get a better night’s rest:

Avoid electronic devices use

Avoid using cell phones and e-readers at night because the glow can wake you up. Switch to old-fashioned books to read before you sleep to quiet your mind and lessen the strain on your eyes.

Ditch alcohol before bedtime

Even if you feel a glass of wine calms your body and makes you sleep, you likely won’t stay asleep for a full eight hours after drinking around bedtime.

Remove distractions

If you receive text messages throughout the night, turn off your phone. Consider buying an alarm clock instead of using your cell phone’s alarm app. This may empower you to turn your phone off because you won’t need it for any reason throughout the night.

Stay regimented in your sleeping patterns

Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time each morning, including weekends. Your body will naturally start to get tired and automatically wake itself up.

Stay away from stimulants at night

Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages, exercising, and even doing simple work around the house at night. The only type of evening workout you should consider is a slow-paced yoga session that can prepare your body for sleep. Otherwise, you’ll speed up your blood flow, and it will take a while for your body to calm down.

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