Afraid of Diabetes? Sleep it off!

A Mystery called Sleep

Sleep, a boon for some and a curse for others. While some of us try hard to get a wink of sleep, others just struggle to keep themselves awake! Most people now have sleep disorders and this is dangerous for diabetes control.

In our urge to get the best of life, we end up making it a mess. We stay awake late nights browsing the net, and have trouble getting up early in the morning.Some of us compensate this by taking secret cat naps in the office, but that never accounts to quality sleep.

Many people complain that they cannot get proper sleep and they end up tossing and turning for hours only to say hello to 2: 00 A.M. Though we spend almost half of our lives sleeping, it is a fact that we do not understand the process of how we fall asleep.

It is said that the harder we try to fall asleep, the tougher it gets. This is something that is very well known to people who suffer from insomnia. Surprisingly, more than the effort to fall asleep, the stress of all the things that can go wrong when you do not get adequate sleep is enough to keep you awake!

A person normally takes around 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep after one goes to bed. After closing the eyes, the brain is still active. Slowly but steadily, the brain lets go of all the ordeals and stress of the day.Gradually, the world around starts to fade out, and dissolves into incoherent fragments.This is the first stage of sleep.

After this stage, a person loses contact with the external world. The brain has more theta wave activity and one dips into a REM sleep. This is when one dreams.

There is a strange link between diabetes and insomnia. People who have insomnia have more chances of developing diabetes and people with diabetes tend to have insomnia! In fact, having trouble sleeping might be a one of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

10 Interesting Facts about Sleep

1. Only humans willingly delay sleep!
2. Adults need round 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day.
3. Sleep is as important as food and exercise.
4. Sleeping improves your memory.
5. If you fall asleep within 5 minutes after climbing into the bed, then you are either very tired or you have sleep deprivation.
6. People who work in night shifts are prone to have sleep deprivation.
7. Even small lights from your smartphones or sounds on the streets can cause sleep disruptions.
8. Sleep disruptions can affect your immune system.
9. After 16 hours of being awake, the brain automatically takes micro-sleeps even though your eyes are open!
10. Sleep deprivation can kill people.

Sleep Deprivation and its Complications

It is said that the last refuge of people with insomnia is a false sense of superiority they get after seeing the sleeping world. These days, what with night life becoming a major cultural aspect, more and more people party all night long. This is a dangerous trend that is seen in teenagers in India.

It has been found in recent studies that many people in India suffer from sleep deprivation and we get less than the recommended amount of sleep. This is can lead to numerous ailments including many non-communicable diseases like obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart attack, and strokes.

Why do people get sleep deprivation?

It is common for someone to have minor interruptions during sleep, but if these disturbances continue for a prolonged period of time and leads to lack of sleep, it causes sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation leads today time sleepiness, poor productivity, hormonal imbalances, psychological issues, obesity, and other ailments.

While most people intentionally deprive themselves of sleep, some have to because of their job circumstances.

Do you have Sleep Deprivation?

If your answer is yes to at least five of these questions, then might you have sleep deprivation!
• Do you yawn during the daytime?
• Are you always hungry?
• Do you frequently forget things?
• Have you put on weight recently?
• Are you constantly stressed?
• Do you have difficulty concentrating?
• Have you gotten impulsive lately?
• Do you find it difficult to learn new concepts?
• Are you clumsy handling things?
• Do you feel sleepy during the daytime?
• Are you always irritable?

Diabetes and Sleep Deprivation

Many researches have associated sleep deprivation and sleep disorders with obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. However, for a person with diabetes having sleep disturbances is common.

Blood sugar control for a diabetic depends upon the ability of a patient to adhere to the treatment plan, make dietary modifications, do exercise and take medications. Apart from this, one needs good sleep in order to avoid high blood sugar levels.

This becomes difficult for a diabetic patient due to the inherent sleep disturbances it causes. It isn’t as if a person with diabetes cannot go into a deep sleep, it is because of the symptoms of diabetes that there are sleep disturbances.

• Having high blood sugar levels leads to frequent urination causing sleep disturbance.
• Low blood sugar symptoms like shaking, sweating, and dizziness disturbs sleep.
• People with diabetes are at an increased risk of having depression. Mood swings might cause sleeplessness.
• People who have diabetes and are obese tend to have sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing halts periodically while sleeping.
• Some people with diabetes have a higher risk of restless leg syndrome that can cause sleep disruptions.
• Added to that, pain due to diabetes complications like neuropathy can also lead to sleepless nights.

Impact of lack of sleep in people with diabetes

Lack of sleep has adverse effects on blood sugar control, blood pressure, cholesterol and leads to cardiovascular diseases. Reduced sleep times lead to increased amounts off cortisol (a stress hormone) in the body, which leads to insulin resistance.

Subsequent hormonal secretions prompt you to eat more making you hungry and raises your blood glucose levels. Along with increased cholesterol levels, there is an increase in the levels of the adrenaline that leads to vascular inflammation increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

How to avoid sleep deprivation in people with diabetes

It has been proven time and again in research that people who get about five hours of sleep per day are at a very high risk of getting type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Moreover, the sleep quality, efficiency, sleep duration, and daytime dysfunction level determine the risk factors for diabetes.

Studies based on sleep-wake misalignment (inappropriate sleep timings) increase the risk of diabetes further.

Here are a few tips to diabetics to get better sleep:

• Avoid the usage of smartphones and laptops after dinner.
• Do not consume any caffeine-containing beverage after the evening.
• Maintain a routine and stick to it.
• Keep your bedroom dark, and calm. Avoid conducting any kind of telephone conversation, office work, or smartphone usage in the bedroom.
• Invest in a good bed, one that is comfortable to you.
• Dim the lights of your bedroom half an hour before you go to bed.
• Do not consume alcohol.
• Do not exercise three hours before bedtime.
• Do not smoke.
• Do not discuss anything important or serious before going to bed.
• Control your blood sugar levels.
• Monitor your blood glucose levels regularly.
• If you feel your blood sugar levels are low, have a low-carbohydrate snack.
• If you have high blood sugar levels regularly, consult your doctor.

Remember, if you have a sleep debt, you are bound to pay it back with metabolic disorders and lifelong conditions like diabetes mellitus. For people with diabetes, it is important to get good sleep to have optimum diabetes control.