Published On: Tue, Dec 8th, 2015

7 Techniques for Sleeping Well With Diabetes

It is estimated that 50-70 Americans have some kind of sleep or wakefulness disorder. The amount of sleep that an individual is able to clock in affects appetite-regulating hormones and glucose metabolism, which have a profound effect on those managing diabetes.

These individuals may have a difficult time achieving a full night of sleep without waking. This may be due to a lack of exercise, abnormal glucose or hormone levels, sleep apnea, the urge to urinate multiple times throughout the night or even complications arising from diabetes, such as peripheral neuropathy.

Developing good habits goes hand-in-hand with managing diabetes, such as regularly checking blood glucose levels and keeping healthy snacks within reach. Following a consistent night-time routine is also helpful. Below are 7 techniques that can be incorporated into your night-time routine to give you a better chance at a successful night of sleep.

1. Manage blood glucose levels

Managing your blood glucose levels is the best defense against diabetes-related complications that could lead to restless sleep. For example, peripheral neuropathy, which is caused by chronically high blood sugar and results in pain in the legs and feet, causes restless sleep and can even make falling asleep difficult. Do your best to stay on top of your insulin injections, or consider switching to an insulin pump if multiple daily injections are difficult for your lifestyle. Newer pumps are surprisingly simple to learn and use, including some with touch screens like a smartphone.

2. Follow a regular sleep schedule

A regular sleep routine promotes sleep. Setting a time to go to bed at night and to wake up in the morning are two important parts of this schedule. It’s important to be consistent with the sleep schedule that you set, especially on weekends, so that your body is able to adapt more easily.

Diabetes3. Drink fewer liquids before going to bed

Limiting your fluid intake a few hours before dozing off decreases your chances of getting up frequently during the night to urinate. Another trick is to elevate your legs in the evening before going to bed. Any fluids that remain in the lower legs at the end of the day are likely to be reabsorbed by the body at night and create more urine.

4. Write

It’s the end of the day. You may have a certain incident on your mind, or have a list of things you need to get done by the end of the week, or maybe even by the end of the day tomorrow. Jot it down. Transferring our thoughts into writing is a great way to quiet the mind and release the pressure of having to remember every little thing on our to-do list.

5. Turn your bed into a zone of tranquility

Sometimes even reading in bed can accustom your mind to being active while in bed. Keep electronics and other stimulating material outside of this area. This should be a space of pure relaxation, keep it reserved for sleep and rest.

6. Indulge

Take a warm bath, read a great book (somewhere other than in your bed) or listen to some relaxing music.

7. Breathe

Relaxation and breathing techniques can all be useful tools to help you doze off. Try a few techniques and practice the ones that best work for you and that you enjoy the most.

Do your friends and family practice a routine at night to help them sleep? Exchanging ideas and discussing techniques with others who are managing a diagnosis of diabetes or anyone who is having trouble sleeping is a great way to find community and discover new methods to achieving a great night of sleep. If you believe your sleeping patterns are affecting your ability to manage your diabetes, talk to your doctor for more advice.

Author: Ravi Kumarr Gupta

Diabetes symptoms Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

Diabetes symptoms
Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

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