Diabetes and Insomnia – Are They Linked?
Whether diabetes and insomnia are linked and if so, in which ways exactly, has been one question that has caused countless debates among medical experts. Although plenty of evidence has shown that insomnia often occurs in diabetic patients, the possibility of insomnia actually causing diabetes in healthy individuals still remains a question.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology published a study showing findings that may surprise you. Although the study conducted was relatively small compared to most of the available medical studies, it was still able to provide a relevant understanding of whether insomnia indeed can cause diabetes.
It has been found that interrupted or insufficient sleep in healthy individuals can affect the body’s ability to balance insulin, which may lead to insulin resistance, thus increasing chances of diabetes. A particularly alarming finding was that even a single night of lack of sleep could significantly increase the chances of diabetes in healthy subjects. Before you get worried, it needs to be said that the study was relatively small and not entirely representative. However, the finding definitely calls for further clinical research to reach a definite conclusion. Other studies have shown that diabetic patients’ condition worsens significantly when insomnia is present in their daily life. It becomes particularly bad if a person sleeps less than 6 hours per night. The lack of sleep seems to be able to majorly throw the body chemistry off and cause a whole host of consequences, not the last of which, especially for diabetics, is the blood sugar issues. It is yet unknown exactly why sleep has such a great influence on your body systems, but the effect is undeniably evident in multiple studies.
Studies have also shown links between obesity, another related factor to diabetes, and insomnia. This opens up another realm of discussion that explores the possibility of insomnia to indirectly cause diabetes in those individuals with weight issues.
One thing is definitely clear: insomnia makes any condition worse. Even completely healthy people feel off after a night of interrupted sleep. Insomnia becomes a real health hazard if it’s chronic, which often is the case in our over-scheduled, overly busy lives. Early work hours, parenting and lots of other life factors lead to interrupted or broken sleep that is never restored.
Insomnia can be present in various shapes and forms. It can be expressed in difficulty falling asleep, or broken sleep, when you seem to wake up in the middle of the night for no reason and then you are unable to go back to sleep. A lot of people, especially seniors, tend to wake up really early, before they are rested, and are unable to go back to bed. Insomnia, in general, seems to be particularly common among the elderly. It aggravates the health hazards of this already vulnerable population. As you may know, diabetes is also very common in the older population. This, combined with insomnia, can quickly wreak havoc in a patient’s body, which is why it’s so important to try and curb insomnia, especially in older patients.
HOW TO KEEP INSOMNIA AT BAY
People most at risk of diabetic insomnia are the elderly and the people with weight management issues, particularly when the two are combined. Diabetes by itself can also aggravate insomnia through stress, medications, hormone fluctuations, pain, and discomfort. Although insomnia is almost never treated as a primary condition by itself, it is important, especially for diabetic patients, to take it as seriously as possible and take all measures to mitigate insomnia and its effects on your everyday life.
Most of the things you can do to help treat your insomnia are all related to improving your regime and overall health, as well as better sleep hygiene.
Create and maintain a routine around your sleep time. It could be a good idea to always go to bed at the same time so that your body knows when to produce more melatonin which will help you sleep. It is helpful to establish a set of relaxing, soothing activities before bed, such as a warm bath, a warm glass of decaffeinated tea or milk, or an hour with a good book in bed. Try to keep your environments dark and screen-free. Blue light from TV and phones is bad for melatonin production and has an invigorating effect on your brain which is the opposite of what you want in the evening. So try not to watch TV or read anything on your phone or tablet before going to bed, even though the temptation may be strong.
Avoid stimulants such as coffee or tea or drinks with excessive sugar. Don’t exercise or work before bed. Try to eliminate noise as well, as it can be stimulating. Keep devices, TV, and radio off.
Add a healthy exercise routine to your day. Vigorous exercising depletes excess energy, helps oxygenate your blood and releases endorphins. Together, these will help you achieve better relaxation at the end of the day.
Meditate. Meditation will help you calm your mind after the daily stresses and achieve deeper sleep faster.
If nothing else helps you maintain a healthier sleep routine, you may need to search for more comprehensive cures such as over the counter or prescription sleep aid. You may also consider homeopathic treatments like acupuncture. Definitely, consult your doctor about your insomnia concerns before you start any medications.
Suffering from insomnia disrupts a healthy lifestyle in diabetics as well as individuals not suffering from diabetes. If not treated, it can cause issues in the long run. Cure your sleep and you might notice a whole range of positive changes in your everyday life!