How Does Diabetes Affect Sleep
Its estimated that one in two people with type 2 diabetes have sleep problems due to unstable blood sugar levels and accompanying diabetes-related symptoms, High blood sugar and low blood sugar during the night can lead to insomnia and next-day fatigue. 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.
By contrast, going too many hours without eating or taking the wrong balance 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.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing fatigue, trouble sleeping, or any other worrying symptoms. They can help analyze the reason and work with you to keep your blood sugar levels more stable.
How Does Sugar Affect Sleep
A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates has been shown to make people feel sleepy and fall asleep faster , but it also causes poor sleep quality and more nighttime awakenings . There’s no clear evidence that sugar causes the sugar high that’s been blamed for hyperactivity in children, although it’s possible that some children may react to sugar this way.
Sugar is the simplest type of carbohydrate . Other types of carbohydrates include starches and fibers, which are considered complex carbohydrates because they are made of multiple simple sugars. Many studies on diet and sleep group together the effects of all three carbohydrate types, rather than look at sugar’s specific impact. Nevertheless, examining the effects of carbohydrates on sleep helps shed some light on how sugar might affect sleep.
High-carbohydrate diets elevate levels of tryptophan , an amino acid that promotes sleep. Sugar also suppresses orexin , a neurotransmitter responsible for promoting alertness. Although sugar makes you sleepy, this reaction seems to be offset by poor sleep quality later in the night, including difficulty maintaining sleep and a lower proportion of restorative deep sleep.
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High Blood Sugar Causes Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of high blood sugar. In people with diabetes, it is referred to as diabetes fatigue. Many people with the condition feel tired all the time regardless of how well they sleep, how healthily they eat, or how much they exercise on a regular basis. Research has shown that up to 61% of people who are recently diagnosed with the condition experience fatigue. However, fatigue doesnt just occur in those with diabetes. It can also happen in people with normal or prediabetic blood sugar levels if they experience a sudden spike in their blood sugar.
When the body experiences a spike in blood sugar levels, it goes into overdrive trying to create enough insulin to balance it out. If there isnt enough insulin or the body isnt responding to the insulin as it should, your body will start to pull from fat to create the energy it needs. When this happens, energy is used from the splitting of a molecule known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. When ATP expels one of its three phosphates for energy, it turns into another molecule known as adenosine diphosphate, or ADP. If there are no energy sources to pull from, the ATP cannot regain the phosphate it gave away, leading to fatigue.
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What You Can Do Now
Your doctor will provide you with clear steps to follow aimed at lowering your blood sugar levels. Its important that you take their recommendations to heart and make any necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health. If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications.
Your doctor may recommend that you buy a blood glucose meter to use at home. This is a simple and effective way to monitor your blood sugar and act quickly if your levels have spiked to an unsafe level. Being aware of your levels can empower you to take charge of your condition and live a healthy lifestyle.
Why Is Diabetes Fatigue So Common
Fatigue can be caused by something physical, emotional distress, or because of lifestyle choices. Previously in this article, a number of things related to diabetes that cause fatigue was listed. If you read over that list, you can find physical, emotional, and lifestyle choices in there. This means that individuals with diabetes are at a risk from developing fatigue because of many different reasons.
An example is someone with diabetes that eats a very healthy diet and exercises daily. If they are too stressed because of the struggle to control their blood sugar, they could develop fatigue. Another example is someone that is very calm and follows their insulin and diet plan perfectly, but they have restless leg syndrome because of the nerve damage caused by diabetes.
Having physical, emotional, and lifestyle risk factors makes it very difficult for people with diabetes to avoid fatigue. Many people experience multiple problems that cause fatigue, such as sleep apnea and anxiety. Dealing with both of these makes it even harder to overcome the fatigue. This is why it is the most common symptom of diabetes.
The image below shows how all three variables play into fatigue. It also shows that not only do they cause fatigue, but fatigue causes them as well.
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How Does Poor Sleep Affect Blood Sugar Levels
Just as diabetes can cause sleep problems, sleep problems also appear to play a role in diabetes. Getting poor sleep or less restorative slow-wave sleep has been linked to high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and prediabetes. However, its not entirely clear whether one causes the other or whether more variables are at work. Researchers believe that sleep restriction may affect blood sugar levels due to its effects on insulin, cortisol, and oxidative stress.
One-quarter of people with diabetes report sleeping less than six hours or more than eight hours a night, which puts them at a higher risk of having elevated blood sugar. In addition to raising blood sugar levels in people who already have diabetes, sleep deprivation also raises the risk of developing insulin resistance in the first place. This link becomes apparent as early as childhood.
Studies have also found that later or irregular sleeping schedules are correlated with higher blood sugar, even in non-diabetic people. However, there may be other variables that explain this, such as the fact that people with irregular sleeping schedules are more likely to follow an erratic diet.
Sleep deprivation raises levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and decreases levels of leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full. To compensate for lower energy levels, people who sleep poorly may be more likely to seek relief in foods that raise blood sugar and put them at risk of obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes.
How To Identify Blood Sugar Spikes
Fatigue is associated with a myriad of other conditions, as well as just day-to-day life and other stressors, so it alone cannot tell you whether you are experiencing a blood sugar spike. People with diabetes are encouraged to keep tabs on their blood sugar levels to detect any sudden changes. This is one of the ways they can identify when blood sugar spikes happen.
The most common cause of high blood sugar is improper insulin production. Insulin is the hormone that is tasked with regulating blood sugar levels, and if it is not being produced at high enough levels or at all, it can lead to high blood sugar levels.
There are few reasons why insulin levels in the body are inadequate, including:
- Eating too much
- Not receiving enough insulin from treatment
- Having a malfunctioning diabetes pump
- Having insulin that is ineffective at managing blood sugar levels
Other risk factors that should be taken into consideration include weight, age, history of smoking, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure levels. These can all contribute to diabetes.
For a person without diabetes, insulin levels are unlikely to be considered at all. This is why it can be helpful to keep a food log and note levels of fatigue or other symptoms following every meal. If fatigue generally sets in after eating, it could be a sign that its attributed to blood sugar levels. If this does happen, it may indicate that a person should follow up with their healthcare provider and have their blood sugar levels checked.
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A Low Blood Sugar Level Without Diabetes
A low blood sugar level is uncommon in people who do not have diabetes.
Possible causes include:
- a gastric bypass
- other medical conditions, such as problems with your hormone levels, pancreas, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands or heart
- some medicines, including quinine
See a GP if you think you keep getting symptoms of a low blood sugar level. They can arrange some simple tests to check if your blood sugar level is low and try to find out what’s causing it.
Detecting Blood Sugar Spikes
Fatigue is related to a numberless of other conditions, along with day-to-day life as well as other stressors, so it alone does not tell an individual whether he or she is experiencing a raised level of glucose. Diabetics are encouraged to keep checks over their blood glucose levels to sense any abrupt alterations. This can be a very common way by which people can detect blood sugar spikes.
Also, the most common reason behind hyperglycemia is inappropriate insulin production. Insulin is the hormone that plays a key role in regulating blood glucose levels, and if it is not being formed at sufficient levels or at all, it may cause high glucose levels.
Some reasons why insulin levels in the body become insufficient, including:
- Consuming in excess
- Not receiving a sufficient amount of insulin from treatment
- Being stressed all the time
- Having a broken diabetes pump
- Using insulin that is unsuccessful at managing blood glucose levels
Other risk factors that must be considered are age, weight, history of smoking, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. These may add to diabetes.
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How Long Can You Live With High A1c
Predicting how long you will live with a high hemoglobin A1C is difficult. The good news is that you can lower your A1C levels and be healthy again.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to increase your blood sugar control and get that number back where it should be!
According to Medical News Today, a 55-year-old male with type 2 diabetes is expected to live for another 13.2â21.1 years, while the general expectancy would be 24.7 more years of life without any disease or condition at all! A 75-year-old man who also suffers from this illness might expect 4.3 â 9.6 more years of living compared with 10 additional healthy and happy ones if he didn’t have it
The good news is that people with diabetes live longer thanks to medical advancements and better care.
Can High Levels And Dka Be Prevented
These two problems don’t sound like much fun, so you’re probably wondering how to prevent them. The solution is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you and your parents know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA from happening.
What else can you do? Wear a medical identification bracelet that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoever’s helping you even if the person doesn’t know you will know to call for medical help. And the doctors will be able to get you better more quickly if they know you have diabetes. These bracelets also can include your doctor’s phone number or a parent’s phone number. The quicker you get the help you need, the sooner you’ll be feeling better!
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Tips For Sticking With An Exercise Program
The first thing to keep in mind, says Colberg, is that doing any physical activity is likely to help you feel better and less tired, even if its just taking more daily steps. Physical movement doesnt have to be structured exercise sessions to lower your blood glucose or make you feel better in the short run, she explains.
Colberg recommends you start by standing up more, breaking up your sedentary time frequently , and just moving more all day long.
Once the diabetes fatigue starts to lift from doing these activities, you may feel more like engaging in exercises like walking, resistance training, or dancing.
As an endocrinologist, Schroeder has extensive experience working with type 2 diabetes and diabetes fatigue. When talking with patients about exercise, she gives them the following advice:
Is It Safe To Sleep With High Blood Sugar
Glucose levels that are occasionally a little high at night generally dont pose serious, immediate health concerns. Most people with diabetes cannot avoid some high glucose levels. However, frequent or long-term highs particularly extremely high levels can be dangerous. It is important for people with diabetes to reduce high blood sugar as much as possible for two key reasons:
Frequent hyperglycemia can lead to major health complications caused by damage to blood vessels and nerves, which can affect your eyes, heart, kidneys, and other organs. This occurs when glucose levels are too high over a long period of time.
Very high glucose levels can be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis . This occurs mainly in people with type 1 diabetes and can be life-threatening. For more information on DKA, read Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis: Whats the Difference.
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Great Bedtime Snacks For People Living With Diabetes
For some people, a healthy bedtime snack helps to prevent glucose swings during the night. By eating a small snack that is full of protein and healthy fats , your body may be better able to avoid an overnight high but if you take insulin, be sure to cover the carbohydrates in your snack even if it only requires a small dose of insulin.
Here are some snack ideas:
Plain nuts or seeds try eating a small handful
Raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, or tomatoes, with a small amount of hummus or peanut butter
Plain yogurt, and you can add berries or cinnamon
How Can You Manage Tiredness Just After The Meals When You Are Diabetic
Sometimes, you experience very high levels of blood glucose levels in your body just after eating your meals. Also, you feel extremely tired and can no longer function effectively. When this happens, there could be three possible reasons for the same:
- Your carbohydrate intake has become too much
- The carbohydrate in the food that you are taking in is getting digested too quickly
- You are perhaps not taking the right dose or medicine for managing your condition.
When either of the above causes tiredness, you perhaps have weight-management issues and you need to control the same, by reducing and controlling a number of carbohydrates that you eat, you can manage the same. Also, you can show your doctor and change your medicine if he or she so prescribes.
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Can Having Gestational Diabetes Make You Tired
Gestational diabetes is a condition that approximately 4% of women experience during pregnancy. Due to the hormones, insulin resistance occurs, and causes higher blood sugar levels. This can be a problem because it causes babies to be born larger and have difficult births. It can also cause birth defects and it makes the first few days difficult for the newborn to maintain their blood sugar. It usually can be controlled with a change in diet, but sometimes insulin may be required.
Some women show no signs of gestational diabetes, while other have extreme fatigue, elevated thirst, and an increase in urinating. The problem is that most pregnant women experience all of these symptoms anyway. For this reason, all women are tested for gestational around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Women at a higher risk may be tested earlier.
If fatigue does become worse during pregnancy, the expectant mother should seek help from their physician to rule out gestational diabetes or other complications such as low blood pressure or anemia .
What Causes Hyperglycemia
Your diet may cause you to have high blood sugar levels, particularly if you have diabetes. Carbohydrate-heavy foods such as breads, rice, and pasta can raise your blood sugar. Your body breaks these foods down into sugar molecules during digestion. One of these molecules is glucose, an energy source for your body.
After you eat, glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream. The glucose cant be absorbed without the help of the hormone insulin. If your body is unable to produce enough insulin or is resistant to its effects, glucose can build up in your bloodstream and cause hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia can also be triggered by a change in your hormone levels. This commonly happens when youre under a lot of stress or when youre feeling ill.
Hyperglycemia can affect people regardless of whether they have diabetes. You may be at risk of hyperglycemia if you:
- lead a sedentary or inactive lifestyle
- have a chronic or severe illness
- are under emotional distress
- use certain medications, such as steroids
- have had a recent surgery
If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels may spike if you:
- dont follow your diabetes eating plan
- dont use your insulin correctly
- dont take your medications correctly
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