Poor Sleep Linked to Blood Sugar


Thirty-five percent of people report getting less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep nightly.[1] People who don’t get enough sleep are prone to health problems, including type 2 diabetes. How sleep or lack of it affects diabetes is still being investigated, but it’s possible that for some people, preventing or controlling diabetes is as simple as getting an extra hour or two of z’s each night.

People who suffer from sleep disturbances are at risk for obesity, diabetes, and coronary artery disease, according to research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The research analyzed data of over 130,000 people and indicated that general sleep disturbances such as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too long may play a role in the development of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.[2] The study discovered a clear relationship between sleep disturbance and diabetes. The findings suggest that getting a better night’s sleep may lead to better blood glucose control.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that just one night of sleep deprivation can decrease insulin sensitivity equal to the effect of six months of a high-fat diet.[3] This could mean that for type 2 diabetics, getting enough rest could contribute significantly to managing blood sugar.

Diabetes and sleep have a complicated relationship. The better we can manage the symptoms of diabetes the better our sleep should be. Exercise, healthy eating habits, proper rest, and regular doctor visits could be part of the process in managing the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, February 16). 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Retrieved July 15, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html

[2] Grandner MA, Jackson NJ, Pak VM, Gehrman PR. Sleep disturbance is associated with cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. J Sleep Res. 2012;21(4):427-433. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2869.2011.00990.x

[3] Obesity Society. “Insulin sensitivity: One night of poor sleep could equal six months on a high-fat diet, study in dogs suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151104134039.htm.

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