Diabetic sleep disorders connect at sleep apnea and short sleep time. If you improve your sleep, you will improve your diabetes too.
Bad sleep can worsen and may even lead to type 2 diabetes.
This came to light when diabetic sleep disorders showed up in shift workers.
Type 2 diabetes appears more among hospital nurses who work all night than any other nursing shift.
A study of healthy college students who deprived themselves of sleep showed increased insulin resistance in a matter of days.
All of this proves that bad sleep can worsen diabetes. Does that mean better sleep will improve diabetes too? The answer is yes.
Nurses and other shift workers who sleep during the day have a higher tendency toward insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
You must stay asleep least five and a half hours to get enough slow wave sleep, and night shift workers rarely get this much.
The college students who were sleep deprived during exam week showed increased insulin resistance.
Another term for insulin resistance is prediabetes.
Shift workers suffer from exhaustion because of irregular sleep hours. When you are tired you may eat to stay awake. Or you hope eating will give you more energy.
The discovery of slow wave sleep helped to explain why short sleep time causes diabetic sleep disorders.
During slow wave sleep, your body burns more fat than during exercise.
Studies show that people who sleep less than six hours a night having a higher BMI.
Short sleep time lowers your leptin, the hormone that signals you are full. It also speeds up your metabolism when it senses you have fat stores.
Short sleep time also raises your levels of ghirelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger.
Diabetic sleep disorders grow out of this increased appetite and more storing of calories in fat.
Those who get over 7 hours of good sleep are less prone to gain weight.
Many of us who are type 2 diabetic think we are getting good sleep because we sleep most of the night.
But if you still wake up groggy and unrested, the problem may be obstructive sleep apnea.
If sleep apnea has deprived you of slow wave sleep, you will fight hunger all day and have a very hard time losing weight.
Exercise will help, but after sleep apnea is treated diabetics get more benefit from exercise.
Doctors who study and treat sleep apnea have known for years the connection between deep sleep and health.
They saw that people who have apnea get very little to no deep sleep.
Treating sleep apnea gave the sufferer a chance to enter REM sleep, but doctors found that the deep sleep that surrounds dreaming was even more important.
They called it slow wave sleep, the stage when body heals itself and resets the regulating hormones for appetite mentioned above.
It is also important for setting your metabolic rate, how fast your body will burn calories throughout the day.
For type 2 diabetics there are other reasons for sleep loss.
Diabetic nocturia (going to the bathroom at night) happens because of polyuria or from diuretic medications. If you wake often at night, it deprives you of slow wave sleep.
There is also the annoying restless legs syndrome (RLS) that plagues many diabetics.
Tighter blood sugar control and plenty of exercise can help, but many type 2 diabetics use medications for pain and restless legs.
Those medications have side effects that can worsen diabetic sleep disorders by blocking slow wave sleep.
So if you take medication for neuropathy or RLS, tell your doctor if you are sleepy during the day or you feel hungry all the time.
Those are signs you are not getting enough slow wave sleep.
Your doctor may try a lower dosage or even a different medication. Do not give up until you are sleeping well again.
Check out these bad sleep habits. Avoid them and your sleep will improve.
If you see the signs of obstructive sleep apnea, get tested. After sleep apnea is treated, most find they need less medications for diabetes and blood pressure.
Their diabetic sleep disorders improve as well.
Get your seven hours a night, and diabetes will be simpler to control. Your obesity battle will be easier to win, and you will have more energy.
The improvements you feel from exercise and weight loss will be easier to achieve. That is a great goal for all of us.
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