How Diabetes and Sleep are Connected?


Out of 24 hours, one must sleep for a minimum of 7 to 8 hours for a healthy body mind cycle. But work stress, improper eating habits, gadgets, and mild health issues can lead to sleep disturbances. For example, one research in 2012 has concluded that people with diabetes are mostly sleep deprived. The reason could be psychological or physiological which differs from patient to patient, but diabetes-induced sleep disturbances can be cured by healthy lifestyle hacks.

How Diabetes and Sleep are Connected

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a medical condition when the human body is not able to secrete insulin hormones in the required amounts. This causes increased blood sugar levels as insulin can absorb glucose from the blood. There are two types of diabetes.

  • Type 1: When one’s pancreas does not produce insulin and hence it has to be administered on a daily basis to the patient.
  • Type 2: When the human body is not able to secrete enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin secreted as needed.

In both cases, the sugar level needs to be brought under control.

Common bodily changes observed in one affected with diabetes are:

  •  Dehydration
  • Shaking of limbs
  •  Frequent urination
  • Trembling
  • Sweating etc.

Some of these symptoms can easily affect one’s sleep. For example:

  • High blood sugar level causes frequent urge to urinate.
  • When there is extra glucose in the body, the cells are depleted of water as glucose draws water from the cells. Hence, one can feel dehydrated.
  • The sweaty feeling can make one toss and turn in bed.
  • Shaking, trembling, the restlessness of the limbs, etc. do not allow one to sleep comfortably.

Also Read Understanding the Relationship Between PCOS and Diabetes

Diabetes Induced Sleep Disturbances

It is observed that once the blood sugar levels are in control, the sleep routine automatically gets corrected. Thus, diabetes and sleep disturbance are interconnected. While it is noted that diabetes affects sleep routine, it is also observed that due to lack of sleep, there could be a considerable hormone imbalance, a changed appetite which in turn results in eating something at odd times. This can affect the calorie count and also increase the sugar levels in the blood.  Doctors even suggest people not to keep awake at night as it can induce gastric disorders and pre-diabetic states.


The most common remedy suggested by medical practitioners is to exercise and tire one’s body. Also, one has to eat light at night and avoid caffeine consumption as it causes mind alertness and less sleepiness. The other ways to cure sleep disturbance are:

  • Eat healthy – It is recommended to avoid oily food at night so that the meal is light and easy to digest. If the digestive system is in perfect state, sleep disturbances are minimal.
  • Reduce weight – Obesity can also induce sleep disturbances. Hence, it is important to keep your weight under control.
  • Listen to soothing music – Mental relaxation before sleep helps to have a sustained and undisturbed sleep.
  • Keep away gadgets – Smartphones, e-readers, etc. are distractions that should be avoided before sleeping as they can get addictive.

If the diabetes-induced sleep problems are persistent, one has to consult their diabetologist as soon as possible and follow his or her medical advice.


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