Diabetes-Sleep Connection: What You Must know?

Most of us are not aware of how our sleep cycle, amount and quality affect our health not only physical but mental health too. Recent research points out that sleep can also be one of the factors leading to diabetes. Let’s find out how circadian rhythm affects blood sugar management and other health concerns in diabetes. Emerging evidence reveals that qualitative and/or quantitative disruptions in human sleep result in adverse health outcomes––such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension

What is circadian rhythm?

Humans and other living beings follow a 24-hour cycle which involves physical, mental, and behavioural changes called circadian rhythms and many of the natural processes depend primarily on light and dark. One of the light-related circadian rhythms is being awake during the day and sleeping at night.

Does sleep disruption lead to diabetes?

According to several studies, people who have poor sleep habits are at greater risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing type 2 diabetes.

Does sleep deprivation affect diabetes?

Any kind of disruption to this circadian cycle reduces glucose tolerance, beta cell function and insulin sensitivity leading to the onset of diabetes and also difficulty to manage existing diabetes conditions. Poor sleep affects hormone balance leading to weight gain. When you're sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates appetite) and less leptin (a hormone that signals fullness), which can increase your cravings for high-calorie foods and lead to overeating. Apart from this glucose metabolism is affected, it is a process where the body converts glucose into energy, and sleep disruption causes glucose to stay in the blood.  Research shows that there are two specific genes which code for proteins that build up in the cell’s nucleus at night and lessen during the day. This causes an imbalance in several metabolic processes. It has been reported that partial sleep deprivation even for a few days or disruption in quality, timing and amount of sleep affects blood pressure as well.

How much sleep is too much or too less?

Surprisingly, both long and short sleep duration increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. A duration of 7-8 hrs of sleep is considered optimal sleep to maintain overall health.

Sleep Disorders in People with Diabetes

Individuals with type 2 diabetes have a higher chance of developing accompanying sleep disorders, the most common being restless legs syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Approximately one in five people with type 2 diabetes have restless legs syndrome, marked by tingling or other irritating sensations in the legs that can interfere with getting to sleep. People with diabetes are also at risk for another condition called peripheral neuropathy. Caused by nerve damage, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are very similar to RLS and include numbness, tingling, and pain in the extremities. People who experience these symptoms should consult a doctor, as peripheral neuropathy requires treatment to reduce long-term nerve damage.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person momentarily stops breathing at recurring intervals throughout the night. These lapses in breathing cause micro-arousals (very brief awakenings) that interfere with the natural progression of the sleep stages and reduce sleep quality. OSA typically occurs in people who are overweight or obese, as they often have a thicker neck circumference that interferes with the airway. The condition can be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device that keeps the airway open to restore normal breathing and reduce interruptions to sleep. Weight loss also helps in improving this condition.

The optimum amount of sleep for diabetes varies depending on factors such as age, lifestyle, and overall health. However, in general, the American Diabetes Association recommends that adults aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night as mentioned above. It is advisable to consult your doctor to address any of the above concerns.

Apart from lifestyle changes, Fiber is also one of the crucial factors in managing diabetes and prevent other complications. You can consider including a 100% natural, high-fiber supplement like Actifiber Natural Sugar Control in your diet to avoid blood sugar spikes.   Add a sachet of ActiFiber to each of the 2 main meals that have the goodness of fiber and prebiotic which helps in regulating blood glucose levels and keeps you energized between meals too. It dissolves easily with no taste, odour or colour thus blending into your regular diet effortlessly.

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