Absolutely. 100%! Without a doubt, diabetes has a huge impact on your sleep! Look at any online forum whether it is for parents or adults living with diabetes and you will find a steady rash of memes suggesting that they live on insulin and coffee.
There are a few reasons why this happens. Some of which we can control, and others we can’t.
Low blood sugar levels
Failing to properly calculate the carbohydrates in a meal or exercising more than you realized are just a few of the reasons that you could become hypoglycemic during the night. When this happens, symptoms like shakiness, dizziness, and sweating, can affect your sleep. If you are asleep, you may be woken up with nightmares or feelings of unease. The fact that you will have to get up, ingest some form of sugar and wait for your blood sugars to rise to a safe level will once again disturb your sleep.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Being a parent of a child with diabetes
As a parent of a child with diabetes, I know that we don’t sleep. Diabetes has robbed us of that luxury. Whether you believe in nighttime glucose checking or not, or if you are using a Continuous Glucose Monitor or not, you will most likely wake during the night wondering about your child. You will check their blood sugar level, correct a high, or feed a low. Sleep will be an elusive thing that happened before your child was diagnosed with diabetes.
Even when your child grows up, you may still find yourself waking up and wondering about them. When my son first moved out on his own, he told me about diabetes waking him up early one morning. He felt horrible and checked to see why. His glucometer said he was high so he made a correction on his insulin pump.
I was pleased that his body had woken him up and alerted him to a problem. I was sad that this was part of his life now. Being his mom, however, I then reminded him that any time he woke up, he should check his blood glucose levels. There could be a reason why he is awake and he needed to be sure.
High blood sugar levels
If you have had a stressful day, your blood sugar levels may be high. If you made a mistake in your insulin dosing of a meal, you may run high. You could be coming down with a mystery ailment and are running high. Perhaps you didn’t sleep well enough the night before—that can make you high.
The number of reasons why you could be high during the night are endless. When they spike while you are trying to sleep, it can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns.
A high blood sugar level will cause you to have to use the washroom through the night. The extra glucose in your body will draw water from your tissues. This will make you feel dehydrated and need to get up for a glass of water
Lack of sleep
Highs and lows, complications and diabetes technology can all make proper sleep a huge challenge for people living with diabetes but the catch-22 is that lack of sleep can in turn contribute to more high blood glucose values! You just can’t win.
People who regularly lack sleep are will feel more tired throughout the day and more likely to eat comfort foods which can lead to higher blood sugars.
According to Diabetes UK, a good night of sleep is important for our hormones to regulate a large number of the body’s processes, such as appetite, weight control, and the immune system.
A study published in the Diabetes Journal showed that adults with type 1 diabetes who slept less than 6.5 hours per night had higher A1c levels than those who slept more than 6.5 hours.
We all know that proper rest is good for us. Sadly, when you live with diabetes it is much harder to get a good night’s sleep. Insulin pump and CGM’s alarm. Blood glucose levels rise and fall to dangerous extremes. The battle is real but the advice from experts seems to be the same. Work as hard as you can to achieve good control of your blood sugar levels. With good control you have less extremes, fewer complications…and a better chance to get a proper night’s rest!
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