According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 million American citizens and more have diabetes and several million are already in the “pre-diabetes” range. In order to maintain good health, keeping the blood glucose levels in check is crucial, regardless of having diabetes or not. Here, we will talk about how sleepless night can increase blood sugar level.
Most individuals are aware of the fact that exercise and dietary choices are directly related to blood sugar levels. But, only a few of them are aware of the negative effects of sleep deprivation.
Poor quality sleep or lack of sleep can have serious consequences with respect to blood sugar. This is as unhealthy as a bad diet or lack of exercise. It can be particularly dangerous for individuals who fall in the pre-diabetes range.
Regulation of Blood Sugar Levels
Glucose is a kind of sugar that is knon to be the primary energy source of the body. Each cell of the body is highly dependent on glucose to maintain an optimum level of functioning. With every meal, the stomach breaks carbohydrates into molecules of glucose. Glucose is later absorbed into the blood which is circulated to every part of the body.
It is important that the blood sugar levels remain into between a strict range. For this purpose, insulin (a hormone) is released into the body by the pancreas. Insulin sends the necessary signal to cells for the increase of glucose uptake from the bloodstream in order to reduce the level of blood sugar in the body.
If the level drops too low, usually occur after any form of strenuous exercise, a hormone is secreted to signal the liver for the release of excess glucose into the bloodstream to help restore the balance.
People who have diabetes cannot respond effectively to insulin. Patients having Type 1 diabetes are not able to produce insulin that is necessary for keeping the glucose level in check.
Patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes become insensitive to insulin gradually, making the body unable to respond properly to the increase of blood glucose. This may result from dietary factors, like excessive consumption of fat and simple carbohydrates.
Many research studies have also shown that blood sugar levels and lack of sleep are interlinked, especially increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Also Read: Top 10 foods to get better sleep
How Blood Sugar Levels and Sleep Deprivation Are Related
Sleep is known to help the body repair and rebuild its tissues. This is the reason why good sleep is related to several kinds of health benefits. The endocrine system is an intricate system in the body that governs the release of several hormones, like insulin.
It is known to be directly related to sleep. Many different hormones are released into the body everyday at different times and occasions and having a healthy sleep pattern is known to keep the endocrine system highly efficient and normal.
As the endocrine system and the sleep-wake cycle is so closely related, sleep deprivation can play a major negative impact on the glycaemic control. During different phases of the sleep cycle, the metabolism of glucose isn’t very effective.
This occurs because of the reduced need for brain glucose and changes in insulin release at the time when the body is asleep. When there is a disruption of certain phases of the sleep cycle, the body’s ability to process blood glucose effectively reduces.
Research studies have also indicated that sleep deprivation could result in lower glucose tolerance, dysregulated hormonal levels with respect to appetite, and poor insulin sensitivity. This may also answer the question why people crave for midnight snacks or have intense hunger early in the morning.
Sleep Apnea and Its Connection to Blood Sugar Problems
There is a bidirectional relationship shared between diabetes and sleep apnea. People having diabetes are at a higher chance of developing sleep apnea, and people having poor sleep quality resulting from sleep apnea could experience issues with glycaemic control, elevating the chances of type 2 diabetes.
As per the International Diabetes Federation, 50 percent or more people suffering from type 2 diabetes also suffer from some kind of sleep disturbance. Around 40 percent of individuals having sleep apnea suffer or will suffer from diabetes.
Sleep apnea is a medical condition where the airway becomes restricted periodically during sleep, which eventually cuts the oxygen supply. As there are frequent sleep disruptions, the individuals feel extremely exhausted during the day.
Sleep apnea could also cause disruption of the metabolic pathways, making individuals more susceptible to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.
People who may not have diabetes would also have inferior blood glucose control due to sleep apnea, pushing them towards the pre-diabetes range. Scientists haven’t yet understood the reason behind the connection between blood sugar levels and sleep apnea, but several research studies are exploring this question.
Tips to Maintain a Good Sleep Routine for Better Glycaemic Control
In order to keep the blood sugar level in the stipulated range, it is important to maintain a consistent sleep, exercise, and diet pattern. If you are not able to sleep properly, here are some tips that can help you sleep properly. Try them out and improve the glycaemic control of your body.
- Having a regular bedtime: It is important that you go to sleep and wake up at the same time for quality sleep. Weekends shouldn’t be an exception. Keep the weekday and weekend schedule as similar as possible in order to not disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.
- Reduce caffeine consumption: You can have a cup of hot coffee in the morning and even most of the time during the day. But, avoid having it in the afternoon or before going to sleep in order to maintain healthy sleep hygiene.
- Avoiding daytime naps: We are all aware of the pleasure contained in daytime naps. When you have a poor quality of sleep during the night, you will find these naps to be irresistible. But, limit them as much as possible in order to fall back to the correct sleep rhythm.
If people are having trouble sleeping, many times it could indicate a sleep disorder. In such scenarios, consulting a sleep specialist could be a great choice in order to keep blood sugar level under control.