Sleep can affect your blood sugar levels. In the same time, your blood glucose can affect your sleep. It is a vicious cycle, however you are in control.
In this blog I will give you 5 tips to improve your sleep and, consequently improve your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of diabetes.
Sleep and Blood Sugar
This relationship is based on insulin. During the night, your blood sugar rises and, as a result, your pancreas releases insulin. This happens between 4 and 8 am. Insulin tells your cells to absorb the glucose from your blood, in other words to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
If you already have diabetes or some level of insulin resistance, this mechanism is not going to be efficient.
This study has shown that chronic insomnia and under 6 hours sleep are associated with a higher risk of diabetes.
Another study looked at sleep under 7 hours compared with 8 hours. The short sleep was associated with increased risk of diabetes.
How Does Sleep Impact The Blood Sugar Balance
There are many medical studies like the ones above, furthermore there is research that tries to explain the mechanism that leads to this imbalance.
In summary, sleep loss leads to the impairment of glucose metabolism and increases insulin levels. In addition, sleep deprivation causes a hormonal imbalance resulting in an increase in your appetite and your weight.
In brief, a good night sleep stabilises your blood sugar.
How Much Do People Really Sleep
Sleep Council UK published a report that shows how much britons sleep.
- 1% sleep more than 1h
- 7% sleep 8-9h
- 22% sleep 7-8h
- 30% 6-7h
- 33% get only 5-6h of sleep
- 7% sleep less than 5h
In the mean time, in the USA…
- The average sleeping time is 6.8h
- 20% of Americans have sleep disorder
- 5% sleep 9h or more
- 29.5% sleep 7h
- 27.7% sleep 8h
- 11.8% sleep 5h or less
5 Tips To Help You Sleep And Stabilise Your Blood Sugar
Create total darkness and quiet.
You might want to consider using eyeshades and earplugs. In addition, cover your windows.
Darkness is essential to sleep. It sends a message to the body that it is time for rest. It all involves a hormone called Melatonin or “sleep hormone”. Melatonin sends a signal to the brain that is time to rest. As a result, the muscles relax, body temperature drops and you start to feel drowsy.
Avoid caffeine or reduce it after noon.
For some people it may make sleep restless and worse, therefore is recommended you drink your last coffee of the day 6 hours or more before sleep.
A small study done in the NHS showed a reduction in the sleeping time by 1 hour. Moreover, the participants who consumed coffee took twice as long to fall asleep.
Eat no later than two hours before bed
Eating a heavy meal prior to bed will lead to a bad night’s sleep. Besides, a late meal increases the risk of gastrointestinal reflux and possibly bloating. Furthermore, this study showed that late meals are related with increase body weight.
Finally, a late night dinner will impede the body’s overnight detoxification process.
Listen to relaxing music, white noise or ocean sounds
White noise can help you drown out sounds that can prevent you from falling asleep. Especially if you live a city, on a busy street or a noisy building. However, if you live by the ocean…well I’m just jealous.
Write your worries down
Before you go to sleep, write down what is causing you anxiety and make plans for what you can do the next day to reduce your worry. It will free up your mind and energy to move into deep and restful sleep.
The Bonus Tip
The Power Down Hour… that one hour before you fall asleep, when you are going to do all of the above…As a result you will be relaxed, worry free and ready for a good and uninterrupted night sleep. In other words, a good sleep that will help stabilise your blood sugar.
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed the article and if those tips are easy to follow.
More that that, if you have other suggestions I would love to hear and share them.