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The Link Between Sleeping Problems and Blood Sugar

By Expert HERWriter
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Diabetes Type 2 related image Photo: Getty Images

If you are having sleeping problems then it’s time to check your blood sugar. Research in the May 2011 issue of Diabetes Care found that poor sleep can worsen insulin resistance and diabetes. The numbers are significant in that fasting blood sugar was 23 percent and fasting insulin 48 percent higher than those who slept well.

Insulin is produced by the pancreas when you eat to help escort blood sugar (glucose) into your cells to be used as energy. As you become more insulin resistant, the cell doesn’t allow the blood sugar inside, therefore your body perceives you as "low energy" and there is too much sugar floating around your blood stream. Your body may try to compensate by over producing insulin in hopes that something will work, but now you are left with too much insulin and become hyperinsulinemic.

It has been shown that those having a hard time with well-rested sleep often have more difficulty losing weight. Elevated blood sugar and insulin lead to that "spare tire" of flab around your middle. Therefore, to improve the functioning of your body you need to sleep and sleep well!

The hypothalamus, which is a little gland in your head, controls your sleep-wake cycle and prefers at least seven hours of continuous uninterrupted sleep per night (yes, that is seven). The less you get the worse you feel as fatigue, poor concentration, moodiness, and blood sugar issues set in. What can you do about it? You need to work hard at your sleep habits.

First, re-evaluate how many hours you are getting and if it’s uninterrupted. If you find it’s less than seven hours then work to change when you go to sleep or when you wake up. Also try to address the causes of your interruptions be it an animal, child, partner, or neighbor.

Second, turn off all stimulating electronics 30 minutes to an hour before bed. Play relaxing music to calm your nerves and help move you into the "rest and digest" state of your nervous system. Read, relax, take a bath or whatever you want to do before sleeping.

Third, to make sure your blood sugar is stable at night, eat something high in protein before bed. Don’t reach for high sugary desserts, chips or cereal.

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EmpowHER Guest

It is important to ensure adequate break time before bed - no matter what you’ve been doing prior to going to bed, you need to give your mind and body time to relax before laying down for sleep. Whether you’ve been working, studying or watching T.V, quit what you’re doing at least an hour before bedtime. A poll for the National Sleep Association found that 87% of respondents watched T.V within an hour of going to bed – at least a couple times a week. Violent shows, news reports and vivid stories stay in our heads long after we’ve watched them. Watching T.V or doing anything else that stimulates the brain before bed hinders your quality of sleep.
For some tips on what is OK before bed you can download the ebook, Get To Sleep Now! http://instantlyfallasleep.com Its got loads of information on what to avoid and what will help. For example, instead of watching TV before bed and stimulating your brain, call your mom or talk to your children/partner. Chatting is an incredibly beneficial way to slow down your brain, relax, unwind, get your thoughts out and fall asleep.

May 22, 2011 - 11:23pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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