Living Well with Diabetes:
Diabetes and Your Sleep
By: Jessica Cook, Director of Education MS, RD, LD, CDE
Many people think about food, medicine, exercise and weight when it comes to controlling their diabetes, but did you know poor sleep can also affect blood sugars? And poorly controlled diabetes can also lead to poor sleep! Not only do people with diabetes have a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome (RLS), but if one of these conditions is poorly controlled, it can lead to uncontrolled diabetes or weight gain, especially if these issues are preventing healthy sleep cycles. Frequent urination at night, neuropathy or hypoglycemia may also cause poor sleep and can be caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Here are a few indicators you may have one of these conditions and some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep:
- Obstructive sleep apnea is when the throat closes during sleep causing lack of breathing. This can be caused by the shape of the throat or excess weight. Snoring during sleep and lack of energy during the day can be signs that you may have sleep apnea. If you suspect sleep apnea please consult with your physician and you may be referred to participate in a sleep study to receive a device that can help you sleep better through the night. Treating sleep apnea can lead to better blood sugars, more energy, less risk of heart disease and increase in physical activity due to energy increase.
Restless leg syndrome is a condition when feelings of discomfort or uncontrolled movements of the legs occur during bedtime. People may describe RLS as feelings of something crawling on the legs, the need to move or stretch or feelings of electric current running through the legs that can cause sleep disruption. RLS may result from neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease or Parkinson’s disease. Taking a warm bath, stretching, exercise or distracting yourself with word games or puzzles may help relieve symptoms and aid in falling asleep
- Insomnia usually refers to having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or poor quality of sleep. Insomnia can be caused by high blood sugars, anxiety, depression, medications, and poor sleep routine. Insomnia may be temporary, but if persists may disrupt weight, blood sugars and prevent healthy sleep patterns. To reduce insomnia seek treatment for anxiety or depression, keep a journal and log things in your daily life to help relive night time anxiety, avoid spending hours laying in bed and only return to bed when you plan on falling asleep and make sure blood sugars are less than 180mg/dL prior to bed.
- Frequent urination at night may be caused by elevated blood sugar levels. If you suffer from frequent urination at night try avoiding drinking liquids after your evening meal, limit night time snacking and check blood sugar levels prior to sleep to identify if this is what is causing the problem. If blood sugars are consistently above 180mg/dL prior to sleep try reducing carbohydrate foods with your evening meal or consult with your endocrinologist to discuss medication options.
- Neuropathy may worsen sleep causing pain, tingling, burning or numbness in your toes, feet or lower extremities while trying to sleep. Uncontrolled blood sugars may lead to neuropathy, so first priority of treating neuropathy is having near normal blood sugar levels and desirable A1c (usually less than 7%.) Talk to your physician if you are having these symptoms and discuss your blood sugar goals. Meeting with a dietitian to create a better meal plan, exercising regularly and medications may help relieve some of the symptoms of neuropathy while improving blood sugars.
- Nocturnal Hypoglycemia (blood sugar less than 70mg/dL) occurs during sleep and can cause perfuse sweating, confusion, seizure or death. Check blood sugars prior to bed and eat a small snack such as cheese and crackers or half a peanut butter sandwich prior to bed if you are at risk for hypoglycemia or if blood sugars are less than 100mg/dL. People taking insulin or sulfonylureas should keep glucose tablets, raisins or a juice box on their night stand as an easy was to treat nocturnal hypoglycemia. Ask your physician about continuous glucose monitoring if you struggle with nocturnal hypoglycemia to better alert you there is a problem while sleeping or look into purchasing a service dog. Please tell your physician if you experience nocturnal hypoglycemia as this can be a life threatening event.
To learn more about diabetes, health and weight loss call 561-659-6336 ext 8012 to schedule an appointment with a certified diabetes educator today. Please enjoy our August 2017 Living Well with Diabetes Newsletter.
By: Gail Starr LCSW, CDE
Happy August, the eighth month of the year. There are only 4 more months before the turn of the year. Time is fleeting! Every day counts! This article provides ideas for making the time count toward feeling healthier, living longer, and keeping our bodies more in tune with how we feel age wise in our minds, which is usually less than our years. These ideas can help us stay younger!
- Become for flexible: Doing gentle stretches can help loosen and lengthen muscles. Just 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week will be helpful in becoming more flexible (although doing this everyday works best). Stretching can prevent aches and pains, improve balance and stability, plus reduces stiffness. It may reduce or prevent middle of the night leg cramps. It can help reduce the effects of stress to help you to feel more relaxed, both of which will also help with improving sleep.
- Keep moving: A water workout may be the way to go. One Finnish 4 month study of more mature women who did water workouts 3 times per week for 1 hour found the following: an average loss of 2 ½ lbs of body fat, an increase in their walking speed, and they became more physically active. Or, walk just 10 – 15 minutes per day on land. It can lower blood sugar, strengthen bones and muscles, keep your heart muscles strong, and reduce stress. Start slowly, increase the speed and then walk slowly again. Find what you like to do, and then …. Just do it!!!
- Improve sleep: Keep your room cool at night, turn lights dim or off, shut off electronic gadgets about an hour before bed time, limit alcohol intake, try to finish eating 4 hours before bedtime. These ideas can help you sleep more deeply and for a longer period of time. We need between 7 and 8 hours sleep per night. But never try to force sleep. If you wake up and cannot fall back to sleep, get up and read, listen to soothing music, do a puzzle, or watch a funny TV show. When you feel drowsy, and then go back to bed.
Keep your mind sharp: If you find yourself forgetting things, discuss this with your MD. It could be medically related. It may happen because of medicine interactions, sleeping pills, a vitamin deficiency, depression, excess alcohol, hearing loss or other medical conditions. Steps you can take that may help with this issue would be to control your blood pressure, get that regular exercise, eat for your heart (research the Mediterranean Diet), keep busy with productive activities such as taking a class or volunteering and, by all means, …. Be SOCIAL.
All of the above recommendations, should you choose to do them, can be helpful in having a better quality of life. There is no magic wand or magic pill. The only magic is in your own thinking and your own wanting to be healthier. So from our team to you, good luck in your endeavors!!!
Want to Learn How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?
Then come to Our Pre-Diabetes Seminar!
Learn foods to help you lose weight, balance blood sugars, gain energy, prevent diabetes and how to eat out without adding extra pounds!
Now at 2 Convenient Locations!
Tuesday September 19th 10am-12pm
Temple Israel 1901 N. Flagler Drive
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Wednesday September 20th 10am-12pm
Brookdale 8220 Jog Rd.
Boynton Beach, FL 33472
Will provide Healthy Snacks!
**May bring one guest free of charge!
If interested attending this program please contact our scheduling department at (561) 659-6336 Extension 8001 today!
At Healthy Living with Diabetes we want to ensure that you are satisfied with all services received. We also would like your input on educational workshops that you would like us to offer, information you would like to read about in Healthy Living with Diabetes Monthly or feedback on any workshop that you may have attended. You can contact the director of education personally by email jcook@PBDES.COM or leave a message at (561) 659-6336 ext. 8012. We would love to hear from you!