The Connection Between Lack of Sleep and Diabetes

Hi Ruth,
I am sorry to hear that you have issues to sleep. This is so important for our well being, right?
So, above we have Jean tips, she have taken sleep classes and can be someone with good information to help you.
As she tells us, Setting a specific time to wake up every single day is a strategy that the specialists adopt in order to educate our body, and adjust our sleeping hours.
The other thing that works really well for me is exercising… When I exercise in the evening I feel just so tired that when I get home I just want to eat something, take a shower and sleep.
I am very interested about trying yoga, pilates and meditation. So, each strategy is really individual, so try to find your own way to do it. Hope u can have sweet dreams!! Fabiana

Re the light – apparently researchers have found that it is easier to establish a good sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm if your eyes and pineal gland are exposed to bright light every morning at the same time.

Let’s say you pick 6 a.m. as your wake-up time and set your alarm for 6. If you keep it at 6 day after day you will quickly notice that you’re waking up at 5:48 or 5:50 (just starting to feel alert before the alarm goes off). If you get up at 6 and get light into your eyes fairly quickly (bright bathroom light, bright bedroom light, going outside if it’s sunny, however you can get light into your eyes between say, 6:00 and 6:30) this helps your brain set and keep a regular circadian rhythm. All kinds of hormonal cycles will regulate to this new wake up routine – including the time you start yawning in the evening and thinking, “Boy, I’m sleepy, time for bed.”

Oh, also re. light – the opposite is true in the evening. Having less light the last hour or two before bed also helps establish a good sleep cycle.

Thank You! great tips, I will adopt it today!!

Hi Roger, great blog! Thanks for the scientific explanation…

I have posted your article about lack of sleep and diabetes on our Facebook page:!/diabetesHF - There is a post published yesterday about the subject and the reference is on the comments bellow it.

Really Great Job, Fabiana

I’m curious about the “free-running circadian rhythm” Is this something genetic or more environmental?

The University of Chicago has been engaged in a study on sleep and diabetes.

It must be genetic. My great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, my siblings and I, and all four of my siblings’ children have it.

It’s fairly rare (according to the doctor who diagnosed me) but it must be a dominant gene, as none of the husbands had it and yet it bred down through five generations.

I think my nieces’ children have it too; it’s really hard for my nieces to get them to go to bed on anything resembling a schedule. My nephews haven’t had any children yet (they’re younger) so it will be interesting to see how their kids turn out.

Now that my mother is retired, she’s an 100% erratic sleeper – she could go to bed or be awake at any time. It’s not unusual for her to be up 36 hours or to sleep 10 hours. She might take a three hour nap from six to nine p.m. and then be up until noon the next day. There are no rules. When we’re not working, my sisters and I are that way, too.

Really? I am gonna look that up. I am in Chicago.

I am total night owl too - I can’t ever fall asleep before 10 and most of the time midnight. Although I can sleep like a rock at those times when most people in the world get up.

I have worked second shift jobs and jobs that started at lik 11am - those are the best. I had one job that started at 7am! Ugh - what torture. I did get used to it but I needed regular coffee to function. When I start working again, I am sure I will need the caffeine because I swear my night-owlness is genetic (even though no one else in my family seems to have it??). I am most awake in the evening hours. The world is not structured for us night owls.

Not sure how my diabetes effects my sleep. I can have a higher awaking number if I didn’t sleep good but it doesn’t aways affect the whole day. My main problem is a have a really hard time “waking up” - I am worlds worst morning person even if my morning starts at 10am! I never wake up “all bright eyed and bushytaled”. I can easily oversleep. I swear my body takes at least an hour to feel like it is awake even after I am up and out of bed. I hate it.

I know I probably don’t breathe so well when I lsleep because I have narrow nasal passages and they often seem swollen and dry which I think restricts my breathing at night so I probably have some form of sleep apena. I will have rare times where I actually feel rested when after I sleep - but that is not the norm.

That’s interesting and thanks for replying!

You have just described my son’s biggest issue these days. When too high, he cannot settle down to sleep. Then he sleeps too late to make up for the night before and doesn’t fall to sleep until even later. It has become a vicous cycle.
Last night he went to sleep around 2:30 am. We were finally able to get him up at 2pm today. Good thing I homeschool him or this would be a huge issue with the school district. Getting him up before he is ready adds stress and shoots his blood sugar up even higher. I wonder how long it will take to go around the clock and get back to sleeping and waking at decent hours?

Have you tried the breathe right strips?

I also heard a story about this but can’t remember where. I think it was an article in a magazine probably either diabetes Forecast or Diabetes Health. Sometimes you can find their old articles online that might be worth looking for.

I’ve been averaging 5 to 6 hours sleep for months and my numbers haven’t gotten any worse, if anything, they are just a bit better. Of course, those 5 - 6 hours I always sleep well. But in any case, I will keep you posted if I notice any changes. Good luck to you.

I believe my sleep has been significantly impacted by diabetes and vice versa. For one thing I will not go to bed until my numbers are in the 80-90 range - this can mean waiting until 1 or 2 a.m. if needs be. The latter is probably some type of obsessive trait but it does have consequence for sleep quantity and quality. The other things is that whenever I am low at night I invariably have bad dreams (55-65 range). With the bad dreams I tend to wake up several times during the night and disturbs my sleep patterns. I know that a consistent, regimented waking time would be beneficial but for me I strive for a fixed number of hours of sleep, so if I go to bed late I will also end up sleeping later. Of one thing I’m very confident, which is that for me better sleep will result in better BG control, so it’s a worthy goal. When I am rested it seems like my insulin is more effective and post prandial spikes are easier to bring down. Mike.

I am a T1, before i was diagnosed i slept like a polar bear…however ever since diagnosis i wake up every night for a few minutes then go to sleep. It tends to affect my BG if the few minutes get a bit longer

I never had a problem falling asleep but I woke up every night in the wee hours and often stayed awake for hours, before I knew I had diabetes. Since having it, there was a long, rocky period in which I had to get up frequently and pee a lot. My BG was up and down a lot at the beginning as well. Now that I’m at the six month mark, off meds, I usually sleep through the night, occasionally may get up once a night to pee, but have no problem going back to sleep.

Every time I have a more wakeful night, I know the next day will be higher BG readings, so I use that sleeplessness as an early warning to be stricter in carb intake the next day.

Really does help to be strict about going to bed at the exact same time each night and get up the same time.

I have definitely experienced that lack of rest will decrease insulin sensitivity. There is also some research that suggests the same. In one experiment they observed diabetes-like symptoms in healthy young men who had been sleep-deprived for a certain period of time.


I feel like crap when I don’t sleep well and my BS is out of control.

Take care young lady…looks like my plan to CA got delayed, but not because of me. I was ready.

Yes, my BSLs are far more stable when I’m able to sleep for a solid 8-9 hours and be generally well rested. If I don’t get enough sleep, I find that my numbers fluctuate more throughout the day, even if I eat the same amount of carbs.