Sleep & Diabetes: Finding The Connection

Dec 7. 2022

According to The World Health Organization (WHO), on average, globally, about 422 million people have diabetes, and it is predicted to be the seventh leading cause of mortality worldwide in 2030.

Thankfully scientific advances and clinical research has led to the effective prevention and easy management of diabetes now more than ever. Especially the integration of digital connectivity is creating a hopeful pathway to finding a complete cure for diabetes that, to this day, remains elusive.

The global diabetes treatment market is also speculated to grow at a CAGR of 5.02% from 2022 to 2027 and will be worth USD 113.1 billion by 2027 from USD 88.53 billion in 2022.

On the other side of insights, diabetes specialists emphasize that sleep remains an underrated or rather overlooked factor in the effective management of diabetes. If you know a few things about ancient medicine and treatment traditions, it regularly harnesses the healing powers of sleep.

But what is the connection between sleep and diabetes? Is it significant? Can it enhance the effective management of diabetes? Here is an overview of the sleep-diabetes relationship.

How Sleep Affects Diabetes Management

Poor sleep quality can alter the hormonal balance, which in turn can affect food intake and weight. Most compensate for this lack of sleep by eating more to gain energy through calories. This, again, causes your blood sugar levels to rise, making it harder to get a decent amount of sleep. Then you find yourself in the same sleepless situation as a recurring pattern between poor sleep and unstable blood sugar levels.

Biologically speaking, sleep deprivation increases the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and reduces leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. And to replenish these low energy levels, people with irregular sleep schedules turn to relief in unhealthy food choices or even binge eating that raises blood sugar and puts them at risk of obesity and weight gain. This further increases the complications of diabetes management.

Some researchers also believe that sleep restriction or inadequate sleep affects blood sugar levels due to its effects on insulin, cortisol, and oxidative stress. Even partial sleep deprivation can increase insulin resistance, making it difficult for the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels, thereby increasing it.

Similarly, when cortisol production increases beyond a healthy margin, it blunts the body’s sensitivity to insulin. This makes the body need more insulin during those hours to keep blood sugar in a healthy range. The same effect is observed with high levels of oxidative stress.

Moreover, unhealthy sleep patterns can reduce focus, attention, and even cognitive abilities, making it difficult to maintain an active lifestyle with proper workout routines or effectively monitor blood sugar levels and alter their lifestyles, including diet, accordingly.

Lack Of Sleep Increases the Risk For Diabetes

Lack of sleep, sleep deprivation, or poor quality sleep doesn’t just affect the proper management of diabetes; it can also increase the risk of developing diabetes. Studies have shown that irregular sleeping schedules are correlated with higher blood sugar, even in non-diabetic people.

On the other hand, sleep loss can develop an erratic diet, increase weight gain, reduce focus on maintaining an active lifestyle, and increase stress levels, which all have a positive relationship with high blood sugar levels.

Irregular, insufficient, and even excessive sleep can also promote glucose intolerance, increasing the risk of diabetes and aggravating the condition in people with pre-diabetes.

Take Control Of Your Sleep Cycle

The drawback of most diabetes management programs is that sleep patterns are barely considered or taken lightly. Many healthcare professionals don’t ask patients if they have a day or night job or how their work or school life affects their sleeping schedule.

At the same time, getting a good night’s sleep can feel like a luxury when balancing life between school, work, physical activity, and family, causing you to sleep for less than the recommended 7 hours.

This is why at GluCare, our app is designed to inclusively monitor and track all factors influencing blood sugar, including sleep – 24/7. Our healthcare team, including endocrinologists, nurses, educators, dietitians, and health coaches, along with the assistance of AI, can access your sleep data, diet, and other activities on a real-time basis and guide you in managing your routine remotely.

During check-ups, your diabetes specialist will then use these data and reports to show you trends and correlations related to your glucose results, sleep cycle, and other relevant factors, alongside diagnostic tests done in-clinic.

Need Help?

Our GluCare Team is always ready to assist.

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