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Diabetes and Lack of Sleep

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Living with diabetes, I try not to laugh when people ask me how I sleep. I try not to look angry when a doctor asks me this same question.

I feel it is the same as asking a new mother if she is sleeping well. Are they kidding?

Many people with diabetes suffer from lack of sleep. The reasons vary and some are still unknown.

For those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, higher blood glucose (BG) levels can lead to fewer sleeping hours.

An article from WebMD quoted Lynn Maarouf RD, the diabetes education director of the Stark Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, saying, “Any time your blood sugar is really high, your kidneys try to get rid of it by urinating. So you are probably getting up and going to bathroom all night long -- and not sleeping well.”

The cycle continues when a person does not get enough sleep and therefore wants to eat carbohydrate sources throughout the day to maintain their energy level. The BG remains high and the increased thirst and urination continue.

There is also a link between diabetes and sleep apnea, a sleep disorder marked by loud snoring and pauses in breathing while you sleep. The culprit may be excess weight, which can cause fat deposits around the upper airway to obstruct breathing. So being overweight or obese is a risk factor for sleep apnea as well as diabetes, according to WedMd.

Diabetics need to perform nighttime BG checks that can interrupt sleep. I wear an insulin pump and this can keep me from sound sleep. I roll over and in a semi-sleep state might reposition it for comfort.

There are times it alerts me to a BG value that is rising or falling rapidly. I am grateful for this alarm, but that doesn’t let me sleep through the night.

It can alert for a low reservoir, sudden fluctuation, low battery or a reminder to calibrate my continuous glucose monitor (CGM). These alarms do not occur every night of my life, but enough.

According to Dlife.com, a good night’s sleep doesn’t begin once you’re lying in bed. Help your body prepare for being well-rested by developing good sleep-smart habits during the course of the day.

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EmpowHER Guest

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May 30, 2012 - 11:20am
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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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