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Diabetes & Sleep

woman-sleepingSlumber Yard shared with Healthy Lombard that Diabetes is known for many things – perpetual thirst, frequent urination, constant hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision – but sleep deprivation is one of the lesser-known side effects of the disease. In fact, sleep is so intricately linked to diabetes that sleep loss of just six hours or more can increase blood glucose levels in your body.

Diabetes mellitus is a type of disease that attacks your body’s normal glucose or blood sugar supply. This can be especially crippling because glucose is the critical component found in your muscles and tissues that provide your body with energy and fuel. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it effectively to process glucose, it can create significant health problems such as diabetes.

There are a few several types of diabetes: chronic kinds like Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. There are potentially temporary, like prediabetes and gestational diabetes. This last one occurs when you are pregnant.

Regardless of which form you have, life with diabetes can have a significant impact on your sleep, which, in turn, can have severe health repercussions if you aren’t careful.

With these tips, it can be possible for you to enjoy excellent sleep health again, even with diabetes.

The Tie Between Covid-19, Sleep, and Diabetes

Coronavirus has had a particular impact on eating and snacking habits – an already challenging area for those with diabetes. The more severe Type 2 diabetes is often the byproduct of obesity and unhealthy eating habits, and coronavirus appears only to exacerbate the situation.

Obesity and weight gain are two symptoms that have been especially prominent to medical experts at the Center for Obesity Medicine and Metabolic Performance (COMMP) at UT Physicians.

Medical Director Deborah B. Horn, DO, explains, “We are seeing individuals struggle with weight gain because of major life changes stemming from COVID-19.”

“It has to do with several factors,” she says, “including working from home, constant access to a kitchen, snacking on highly processed foods combined with limited access to gyms, increased stress, and how their own genetics and physiology responds to these changes.”

In September 2020, UC Davis Health expressed concern over what it coined “coronasomnia,” its own take on the growing trend of insomnia from COVID-related stressors.

Even without diabetes, studies completed by the National Institutes of Health during the initial onset of coronavirus revealed a pronounced increase in insomnia, as well as acute stress, depression, and anxiety.

We’ve come a long way since those early days, and for many diabetes patients, the situation has only grown that much dire. It’s harder to unplug from work when tomorrow is uncertain, with unemployment and business closures still running rampant.

Medical experts at UC Davis Health also blame reduced sleep on the broken routines of everyday life in the COVID era.

“As human beings, we need some stimulation. We require some variety in our activities,” says Angela Drake, a UC clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “When our lives become so repetitive, the lack of stimulation and activities contributes to poor sleep.”

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