Facts about sleep deprivation and glucose management
- Sleep is a powerful regulator of appetite, energy use, and weight control.
- During sleep, the body’s production of the appetite suppressor leptin increases, and the appetite stimulant ghrelin decreases.
- Studies have found a connection between less sleep and food choices. People that sleep less generally prefer eating foods that are higher in calories and carbs, or “comfort foods”.
- Women who slept only five hours a night were 2½ times more likely to have diabetes as those who slept seven or eight hours.
- Sleep-deprivation increases insulin resistance, which contributes to elevated glucose values.
- One sleep study found that, when healthy young men slept only 4 hours a night for 6 nights in a row, their insulin and blood sugar levels mimicked those seen in people who were developing diabetes.
- Sleep deprivation can decrease glucose tolerance and compromise insulin sensitivity by increasing sympathetic nervous system activity, raising evening cortisol levels and decreasing cerebral glucose utilization. The increased burden on the pancreas from insulin resistance can, over time, compromise beta-cell function and lead to type two diabetes.
- Insufficient or poor quality sleep was closely associated with higher HbA1c results with an increase of 1.1-1.9%.
What can you do to change sleep habits?
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco
- Make sure your room is dark, clean, and has good ventilation
- Don’t nap during the day
- Exercise regularly
- Only sleep in your bed (no reading, t.v., or work in bed)
- Try to relax 30min before you go to bed with a hot bath, massage, or soothing music
- If all else fails contact your doctor who may refer you to your local sleep center
©Gary Scheiner MS, CDCES – Integrated Diabetes Services. May be reproduced and used for patient education, but not sold.