Diabetes And Sleep: All You Need To Know

Diabetes and Sleep

In this article, you’ll learn about the connection between Diabetes and Sleep along with some easy to follow practices that can ensure a good night’s sleep.


Diabetes is a common condition that affects the majority of the population today. The condition occurs when your body is unable to adequately produce insulin. In turn, the blood glucose level increases. Two major types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2.

When your pancreas does not produce insulin, then you get Type 1. Here, you have to take insulin on a daily basis. When the body does not make sufficient insulin, then you get Type 1. Here, your body is unable to correctly use insulin.

How well you control your blood sugar influences the symptoms you experience. Some of the symptoms of high glucose levels in the blood are frequent urination, hunger, or thirst. These symptoms often disrupt your sleep and sleeping pattern. There is a stark link between diabetes and sleeping problems.

In the below post, we discuss the involvement of diabetes with sleep disturbances.

Diabetes And Sleep

Sleeping too much or finding it difficult to stay asleep or fall asleep, results in sleep disturbance. Sleep deprivation may cause many health issues. It is a risk factor for abnormal blood sugar levels.

Several researchers have found a visible relationship between diabetes and the ability to sleep. But, it is not necessary that if you have an abnormal blood glucose level, you will face sleep disorders.

However, the symptoms of diabetes and how well you manage those may signify the intensity of sleep disorders.

  • Symptoms of low blood sugar also cause sleep disturbances. These symptoms include sweating, shakiness, and dizziness.
  • If the blood glucose level is high at the night, then it can cause frequent urination. Now, this means you have to wake up several times in the middle of the night. Thus, waking up frequently to use the bathroom can disrupt your sleep.
  • Your body draws water from tissues if the blood has extra glucose. This can cause dehydration. Thus, you may wake up in between sleep hours to regularly drink water.

Which Sleep Disorders Are Related to Diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you may find yourself tossing and turning all night. This is because of the symptoms of abnormal blood glucose levels. Diabetes and other health disorders can lead to sleep disturbance and disorder, as mentioned below.

1. Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in people with diabetes. In this disorder, you may repeatedly stop breathing before starting to breathe again. This occurs throughout the night.

Sleep Apnea is more commonly seen in those with Type 2 diabetes. Those with this type of diabetes often are overweight, which causes constriction of the air passage. In turn, it causes irregularity of breathing.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea are loud snoring at night and feeling of tiredness during the day. This problem can moreover affect you if you are obese. It can also occur if your family has a history of sleep disorders.

There are special medical masks available for people with Sleep Apnea. You can wear this mask during sleep. The mask increases air pressure to the throat, enabling ease of breathing. If not, you can always get medicines for sleep apnea.

2. Insomnia

If you find it difficult to stay or fall asleep, then you may have insomnia. If you have high glucose and stress levels, then you are at a greater risk of insomnia. Mostly, those with complaints of challenging family issues and stressful jobs suffer from insomnia.

To understand what triggers insomnia you must get a health check-up done in time. It is advisable to make an appointment with your doctor to know the exact cause of insomnia. Symptom-targeted treatment for insomnia may bring some relief.

3. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

If you have RLS, you may feel a constant urge to move your legs. You may experience Restless Leg Syndrome more frequently in the evening hours. Due to this, it may be difficult for you to stay or fall asleep.

A common cause of RLS is iron deficiency. And risk factors for this sleep disorder are kidney problems, thyroid disorders, and high blood glucose levels.

It is best to consult a doctor to review the symptoms of diabetes and RLS. This is more critical to do, if you have anemia or your family has a medical history of anemia.

If you are a smoker, then join a program to quit smoking. This is important, as tobacco usage can also cause Restless Leg Syndrome.

Are Diabetes And Sleep Disorders Connected?

Altered hormone balance may often lead to a lack of sleep. This can in turn affect your weight and food intake. If you have diabetes, then to compensate for lack of sleep, you may eat an excess amount of food. Due to this, your body may then get a supply of unnecessary high calories and energy.

If this energy is not utilized by the body, then the blood sugar levels rise abnormally. And given a high glucose level, you may not receive a decent amount of sleep.

Sleep deprivation can raise the risk of obesity and the development of Type 2 diabetes.

How to Improve Sleep Quality?

Below enlisted are tips to ensure a good night’s sleep:

1. Avoid Intake of Alcohol before You Sleep

If you are in the habit of drinking alcohol before going to bed, then you should avoid this practice. Alcohol intake before bedtime can spike the glucose levels in the blood. It also affects your digestion capacity and nervous system, causing disruption during sleep.

2. Do Not Take Stimulants Before Sleeping Hours

Avoid exercising, drinking caffeinated beverages, and overworking before your regular sleeping hour. Intake of stimulants or overworking mentally and physically can increase stress levels. Increased stress disrupts sleep. You can rather try meditation or slow-paced yoga to prepare for a good sleep. Or, you may even consume beverages that are responsible for better sleep.

3. Stick to a Sleeping Pattern

To get a good amount of sleep, create a schedule for your bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every day. Also, it is advisable to wake up at the same time every day. This sets off your natural body clock. So, you may feel sleepy at the same time every day, and wake up on your own at a regular time.

4. Get Rid of Distractions

If you have installed see-through curtains for your bedroom, then the sunlight can seep in easily. Thus, in the early morning, you may wake up suddenly due to extreme sunlight. To remove this distraction, use blackout curtains instead. To wake up in time, use an alarm clock rather than setting an alarm on your cell phone. Make sure you sleep away from sources of noise.

5. Do Not Use Cell Phone and Electronic Devices

Before bedtime, avoid the usage of e-readers, cell phones, and other electronic gadgets. The glow from the cell phone and e-reader can keep you awake till late at night. Rather, switch to hard copy books to take the strain away from your eyes and mind.


If you experience sleep disorders or problems, then you must seek help from your doctor. The treatment of sleep disturbances depends on several factors. These include your daily activities, lifestyle, medications you take, and health conditions, such as diabetes. Your health practitioner may suggest a few changes in the lifestyle to improve the quality of your sleep.

He/she may even suggest treatment for symptoms related to diabetes. The treatment may take care of sleep deprivation, its symptoms, and fatigue. So follow your doctor’s advice and you may see a significant improvement in your sleep quality and pattern.


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