Ask any diabetic, especially those suffering from Type 2 diabetes, if they got a good night’s sleep and the answer is usually a big no! People with diabetes often have poor sleep patterns, both falling asleep and staying asleep. There are a few diabetics who often get too much sleep. It has been established that many diabetics do not get enough sleep needed to maintain good health, performance and personal safety. One of the main reasons why diabetics do not get enough sleep is because they get up a few times in the middle of the night to urinate. When the sugar levels in the body are high, the body fights it by urinating.
New research into the connection between sleep and diabetes has shown that lack of sleep affects the function of hormones and lowers the metabolism rate which in turn leads to the pre-diabetic stage. It also showed that lack of sleep releases the stress hormone, cortisol that promotes insulin resistance.
According to experts, the body’s reaction to sleep loss can resemble insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Insulin’s job is to help the body use glucose for energy. In insulin resistance, cells fail to use the hormone efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar. Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not properly use the insulin. When insulin is not doing its job, high blood sugar levels build in the body to the point where they can harm the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart.
There are several reasons why diabetics cannot get a good night’s sleep. Some of them are:
- Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is pausing for a breath while sleeping. The gaps in breathing are called apnea, which are caused due to an obstruction in the upper airway. These disturbances are not too long to disturb one from sleep completely but they can arouse a person. This happens due to low oxygen levels in the blood, affecting the proper function of the body.
- Damage to the nerves: Many diabetics suffer from nerve damage to the hands or legs, also called peripheral neuropathy. This can awaken a person due to numbness, tingling, pain, or burning in the hands or legs.
- Restless leg syndrome: This specific disorder causes an intense urge to move the legs. This disorder also causes tingling sensation or pain in the legs.
- Obesity: Being overweight increases the chance of a person suffering from heart problems, sleep apnea, arthritis, diabetes and even hypertension.