With the recent “Spring Forward” daylight saving adjustment, the hour less sleep has affected some of us more than others. For an average adult, the recommended amount of sleep is between 6 to 8 hours, and not getting enough sleep can be a risk factor for certain health problems. For individuals living with diabetes, having a sufficient amount of rest is integral to managing blood glucose.
Research has shown that poor sleep patterns impair the body’s response to insulin. The study led by Dr. Knuston found that diabetes patients who have poor sleep had 48% higher levels of blood insulin and 23% higher levels of blood glucose in the morning than individuals who have normal sleep (Knutson, Spiegel, Penev, & Van Cauter, 2007). Poor sleep also led to a rise in stress hormones, which can increase the appetite and lead to weight gain (Knutson, & Van Cauter, 2008.).
To have a better night’s rest, avoid electronics before going to bed. Phones and tablets are great for entertainment, but the screens emit a blue light that keeps us alert. The room needs to be as dark as possible for the normal secretions of the hormones that regulate our biological clock.
Part of keeping the timing of this biological clock is developing a regular sleep pattern by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day – weekends are no exception. You may prepare yourself for sleep by playing some soft music and doing some light reading that isn’t for the final exam the following day.
Living with diabetes generally means having a harder time sleeping (Grandner, Jackson, Pak, & Gehrman, 2012). Making some adjustments in your routines for an extra hour or two of shut eye could help with getting a better night's rest.