How does sleep affect blood sugar levels

On 02 April 2022 by Droobi

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It’s estimated that 50% of people with type 2 diabetes have sleep problems due to unstable blood sugar levels and diabetes-related symptoms. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during the night can lead to feelings of fatigue and insomnia. As with many chronic conditions, feelings of depression or stress about the disease itself may also keep you awake at night.


When blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys overcompensate by causing you to urinate more often. During the night, these frequent trips to the bathroom lead to disrupted sleep. High blood sugar may also cause headaches, increased thirst, and tiredness that can interfere with falling asleep.


On the other hand, going too many hours without eating or taking the wrong amount of diabetes medication can also lead to low blood sugar levels at night. You may have nightmares, break out into a sweat, or feel irritated or confused when you wake up.


In the same way diabetes can cause sleep problems, a lack of sleep can impact blood sugar control. Getting poor sleep has been linked to high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Researchers believe that sleep restriction may affect blood sugar levels due to its effects on insulin, cortisol, and oxidative stress11.

Zhu B, Quinn L, Kapella MC, Bronas UG, Collins EG, Ruggiero L, Park CG, Fritschi C. Relationship between sleep disturbance and self-care in adults with type 2 diabetes. 
Acta Diabetol. 2018 Sep;55(9):963-970. doi: 10.1007/s00592-018-1181-4. Epub 2018 Jun 21. PMID: 29931420; PMCID: PMC6873706.
Yoda K, Inaba M, Hamamoto K, Yoda M, Tsuda A, Mori K, Imanishi Y, Emoto M, Yamada S. Association between poor glycemic control, impaired sleep quality, and increased arterial thickening in type 2 diabetic patients. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 14;10(4):e0122521. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122521. PMID: 25875738; PMCID: PMC4396841.