According to the National Sleep Foundation’s guidelines, most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you have diabetes, not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your diabetes management. Too little sleep can:
- Cause elevated blood sugars.
- Increase insulin resistance.
- Make you feel hungrier the following day.
- Make you more likely to choose foods higher in carbohydrates and sugar.
- Makes it harder to lose weight.
- Raise in blood pressure.
- Make your immune system less able to fight infections.
- Increase your risk of depression and anxiety.
If you are worried about your sleep quantity and quality, improving your sleep hygiene might be a good next step. Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe good sleep habits. I’ll review some healthy sleep tips I often share with my patients. Be sure and talk with your provider about what might be right for you.
- Get in a routine. One of the best ways to train your body to sleep well is to go to bed and get up at about the same times every day (even on weekends).
- Sleep only when sleepy. Try to sleep only when you feel tired or sleepy, rather than laying wide awake in bed.
- Get up and try again. If you can’t fall asleep after about 20 minutes, get up and do something calming until you feel sleepy again.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine at least 4-6 hours before bed. These substances can interfere with the ability to fall asleep and also interrupt your sleep quality.
- Eat healthy. A healthy and balanced diet will absolutely help you sleep better! You may also find that having a light, balanced snack before bed (like an apple with peanut butter, a low-sugar yogurt sprinkled with some nuts, or an 8oz glass of milk) will help you fall asleep and stay asleep better than going to bed on an empty stomach.
- Be active. Regular exercise during the day can help you sleep better at night. However, avoid strenuous exercise leading up to bedtime.
- Develop evening rituals. Try to develop your own rituals of things that remind your body it is time to sleep. You might try some relaxing stretching or breathing exercises 15 minutes before bed each night. You might also try sipping on a cup of herbal tea.
If you would like to learn more about the link between healthy sleep and better diabetes management, please be sure and join us for our next diabetes support group on Thursday, August 11th. We will have a virtual meeting at 11am and in-person meeting at noon. If you are interested in attending either meeting, please call our office at 316-804-6147.
Sleep Foundation. How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need