The Connection Between Lack of Sleep and Diabetes

Hi there!

How many of you guys feel like that bad night of sleep can make your diabetes control worse? Do you see any relation between quality of sleeping and blood sugar levels? I have had a lot of problems to sleep since my diagnosis, I generally used to wake up feeling still very tired. I have improved my sleeping quality a lot since when I improved also my A1C, so I surely can see some relation between both. Sounds like a circle of causality, If I sleep bad, my blood sugar gets worse, and as it gets worst, I definitely will sleep worse… So, at least for me, the only way to change it was taking control of my diabetes.

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Thanks Fabiana

If I’m not sleeping well, it does affect my glucose control. If I work an all-nighter my numbers are higher until I can crash for a while. I think you’re on to something. :slight_smile:

Can’t remember (maybe this is because I haven’t been getting enough sleep :-0) where I saw it but I did read some research that suggested PWD who do not get enough sleep have poorer glycemic control. How much IS enough is probably case to case. I notice when I am tired (especially when I have been sleeping poorly for a week or two) I simply do not have the energy/motivation to be as vigilant with my DM as I would have been if I am well rested. I am sure hormonal changes etc also happen when there is chronic insomnia.

Good sleep = good blood sugars is true. I think.

My numbers tend to run higher after a night with little sleep.

Definitely less sleep = higher numbers.

Honestly I wouldn’t know my sleep schedule is so FUBAR I forget what real sleep is

T2 here. I have also noticed an effect if I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. My theory is that it’s dawn phenomenon kicking in early. This in turn ruins my whole mornings numbers. Things usually settle down by lunch.

Everyone descended from my great-grandmother Emmeline has what is called a “free-running circadian rhythm”.

We are notoriously, horribly, weird sleepers. Fortunately for you and most other people, it’s extremely rare.

We need some kind of external stimulus (fear of losing our jobs, a grumpy spouse, something external) to make us go to bed at night because we don’t have that normal, “I’m sleepy now” signal until we’ve been up for as long as 27 to 29 hours.

When I’m working I do OK most of the time at making myself go to bed at a “reasonable” time, but when I’m not working, look out! I start rolling around the clock, going to bed at midnight, then 3 a.m., then 7 a.m. It’s really, really, REALLY bad for glycemic control and managing an insulin protocol.

I’m working on this with my new doctor’s help right now. One thing that the sleep specialists recommend (not just for people like me, but everyone) is having a set wake up time, every day, year-round. Those farmers that get up at the crack of doom every, single day because they have to milk the cows no matter what? They have the healthiest sleep schedule. Going off the rails even on the weekend wreaks havoc with your hormones, and we all know that for diabetics, it’s all about the hormones, right?

So, at least for me, the only way to change it was taking control of my diabetes.

Re: well, yes, that’s pretty much a given…
1- have Low BG’s and your become restless and get all the symptoms and your body is going into survival mode and uses up all your energy and = your more tired
and you may notice getting more Constipation issues…

2- You go to high? Your sluggish all the next day trying to burn off some of all that extra sugar in your system

It’s always wise to try to get btwn 90-120’s over nite the best you can…
even if you have to set the alarm for 3-4 hrs, wake up, test and take a CB to get things down
If too low consistantly? best to Reduce the Basal insulin by 20% and start increasing it in 1 u increaments …every 2-3 days

I’m fairly sure my weird sleeping schedule has been contributing to my high fasting sugars the past few days. I have this thing where I just have so much trouble getting to sleep at night. It’s like my body is just designed to be a complete night owl. This wouldn’t be a problem if work and school didn’t coincide with daytime hours. I’m pretty sure having to force myself to stay awake during the day (even if I have slept all night yes) isn’t really helping my numbers much.

Last year, for about two months I worked a night shift at a near by hospital. Oh my gosh it was bliss. I slept during the day and at night when I got up to go to work I had so much energy. I wasn’t checking it much at the time, but just from remembering how I felt I’m pretty sure my glucose wasn’t spiking to unnatural levels.


I so agree with this. Every night I wake up between 2:30 and 3:00 am. Which is just about 3-4 hours of sleep. I have done this for years. It drives me crazy. I’m tired most of the time. I can’t break this cycle. I do have issues with blood sugar control and didn’t really think about it being my lack of sleep. I wish I could do something that will help me sleep better. I tried the otc sleep aids but they don’t work well either.

Thank you for the tip, I will keep that in mind!

Hey, so I have heard about people who actually work out better during the night, maybe is it something related to the metabolism? So, i think we can try to educate our body to sleep earlier, but if its not how it is… we could try to find out ways and lifestyles that fits with us, and we feel better. I also move better during the night!! Take care

I hope you have been sleeping well and reaching great BG management, Peter!

Hi jean, i am sorry to hear that… it must be so overwhelming. I am glad you are treating it with your doctor.
So, I think my main difficulty related to sleeping is to set up one time to go to bed and follow it with discipline. I often go to bed on different times, and its definitely not good…
Thanks for sharing

Hi Fabiana, you’re absolutely right…Many research studies have demonstrated that not getting enough sleep affects the body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels and appetite, increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes.

All in all, the sleep state has definite modulatory effects on glucose balance. Epidemiologic and experimental studies have shown that sleep loss and sleep disturbances are detrimental to metabolic function and may predispose to obesity, and thus provoke or worsen glucose intolerance, or diabetes.

See my blogposts on the subject and let me know what you think…Take care

You’re so welcome. Thanks for bringing up the topic.

I took an eight-week “sleep” class from a sleep specialist here in Seattle. He tried melatonin on those of us who can’t tolerate sleeping pills. It’s supposed to have this gentle effect to help people feel more sleepy after a few hours. The lowest dose knocked me out like anesthesia – and then I popped up WIDE awake two hours later, ready to go. LOL

Yeah, it’s overwhelming sometimes.

I know it’s counter-intuitive, but again, all the specialists I’ve talked to have focused on the wake-up time (not the going to sleep time) never changing.

I know it sounds weird, but they told my sleep class, “Set your alarm for the same time, seven days per week, and get up at that time no matter what – your body will adjust and you’ll start waking up just before the alarm goes off and getting sleepy when you need to in order to maintain that wake-up time.” It’s a trick that works on the vast majority (not weirdos like my family…heh.)

Getting light into your eyes right after your new, regular wake-up time helps normal people set their circadian rhythm, too. Some folks swear by having their morning coffee/tea in front of a light box, or putting a timer on a BRIGHT light in their bedroom set to go on at the same time every morning (here in the Northwest, it is very dark in the morning for about eight months during the year due to the rainy, overcast weather and the northern latitude).

This is why many sleep doctors are NOT fond of daylight savings time – people get their circadian rhythm set and then the time change throws everyone off for weeks. Did you know that there’s an upswing in industrial accidents and car wrecks after the time change? It’s not good to mess with Mother Nature!

Oh, this is so informative!
That’s what I most like about our community, we have people just like you that makes real difference in our lives. I will definitely try to wake up every single day at the same time. I just cant promise about weekends, lol!
I just didn’t understand what you mean about putting some BRIGHT light in the bedroom… You mean, we need some light to help us waking up before the alarm clock?
I really hope you can manage it better a bit more every day… see u are on the way. Information is the first step to a better life. Thanks for sharing!