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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sleep and Diabetes: How are they related?

Your blood sugar level and sleeping patterns go hand in hand. Sleep can affect your blood sugar levels and your blood glucose control can also affect your sleep, which results in trouble sleeping.
Difficulty getting a good night’s rest could be a result of a number of reasons, from hypos at night, to high blood sugars, sleep apnea, being overweight or signs of neuropathy.

The Connection Between Lack of Sleep and Diabetes

“There is some evidence that sleep deprivation could lead to pre-diabetic state,” says Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County.

According to Mahowald, the body’s reaction to sleep loss can resemble insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Insulin’s job is to help the body use glucose for energy. In insulin resistance, cells fail to use the hormone efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar.

Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not properly use the insulin. When insulin is not doing its job, high blood sugar levels build in the body to the point where they can lead to diabetic symptoms such as- thirst, can also harm the eyes(leading to blurred vision), kidneys(frequent urination), nerves, or heart(fatigue).

Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes

Researchers found that the men who slept 10 hours a night over the three-day period — in effect, getting catch-up sleep after a week of short sleep — had improved insulin sensitivity than when they were sleep-deprived.

Having good insulin sensitivity is vital to preventing Type 2 diabetes. When a person has good insulin sensitivity, it means that his or her body only requires just enough insulin for the body’s cells to take up sugar in the blood; when a person becomes insulin resistant, it means more insulin is required for the body’s cells to take up sugar. When this happens, high levels of sugar remain in the blood — a significant risk factor for diabetes.

But while catching up on sleep on the weekends may hold a diabetes benefit for men, it doesn’t come without its consequences. Studies have also shown that getting more sleep on the weekends to make up for lost sleep over the week can make your general sleep worse, since it messes with your natural circadian rhythms, pointed out HuffPost blogger Michael Breus, Ph.D.

The best idea? Try to get enough ZZs every night.

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