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Insufficient Sleep and Type 2 Diabetes

Everyone at some point has endured the effects of a night of insufficient sleep. Some of it may have been through your doing, but for many people with type 2 diabetes, insufficient sleep is another complication of your condition and can even worsen it.

Courtesy morgue file

A dangerous practice

Some people pride themselves on being short sleepers. They go to bed at 2 .00 a.m and are up at 6.00. For those people, energy, as well as their level of concentration, begins to flag by mid-afternoon. When this happens, they may reach for the coffee pot and a donut or some other sugary treat. Do you know this is a dangerous practice?

Snacking can affect glucose levels

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders(NIDDK), some people consume excess calories in addition to their regular meals through snacking during the day and into the night. This, says the NIDDK, reduces the duration of the overnight fast and affects glucose regulation.

A risk factor for diabetes

Now, if you are wondering if insufficient sleep, difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep can impact your diabetes, the answer is yes. And if you are young and healthy and not yet diabetic, you can develop prediabetes. In addition, poor sleep can contribute to obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes.

If you are getting insufficient sleep at nights, Medline Plus recommends you do the following:

  1. Write down in your journal the thoughts that keep you awake. This way you transfer your worries from your mind to paper, leaving you free to sleep.
  2. Walk at least 30 minutes a day or include some form of physical activity.
  3. Reduce your caffeine intake. Cut back on smoking and alcohol.
  4. Go to bed around the same time every day, but not more than 8 hours before you expect to start your day.
  5. Avoid eating heavy meals at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  6. Turn off your computer, TV, cellphone near your bedtime.
  7. Ask your doctor about any medications you are taking that may interfere with sleep.
  8. Do not work or eat in bed. Your bed is for sleeping only.

Getting insufficient sleep can sap your energy, make you irritable and unable to perform your duties effectively. Worse yet, it can lead to you developing prediabetes or diabetes. If you are in the habit of not getting enough sleep, speak to your doctor first and follow the tips above to help you make some lifestyle changes.

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