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How and Why to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

When you get enough sleep, you may find that you have an easier time controlling your blood sugar. You’ll be more alert during the day, have more energy, less stress, and an overall better mindset for monitoring and managing your diabetes.

Consider what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. In addition to other things that may interfere with your sleep, like schedule changes or stress, people with diabetes can have potential complications with sleep. Both high and low blood sugar levels can interrupt your sleep. People with type 2 diabetes who don’t get a good night’s sleep may be more insulin resistant and have a harder time controlling blood sugar levels.1 Sleep apnoea is also common in people with type 2 diabetes, and neuropathy can cause leg pain that keeps you awake.

The good news: it’s entirely possible to control these things and get a long, healthy night of rest. With that in mind, here are some tips for sleeping well.

8 helpful tips for getting a good night’s sleep

  1. Relax before bedtime. Exercise, chores, errands… have everything all finished at least an hour before you go to bed.
  2. Go to bed at the same time every day, even on the weekends, if you can. Try not to take a nap late in the day.
  3. Don’t eat a heavy meal right before bedtime, and don’t drink alcohol or caffeine late at night.
  4. In fact, limit all fluids at least an hour before bedtime to avoid waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Use the bathroom right before you go to bed, too.
  5. If you’re stressed out, try relaxation techniques like meditating, deep breathing, gentle yoga, reading a favourite book, listening to calm music, or writing in a journal.
  6. Make your room comfortable: not too cold or hot, quiet, and dark. If you currently use your bedroom as an office or another TV room, rethink this arrangement. Make your bedroom a place to rest, not to get distracted.
  7. Put all electronics away before bedtime, especially mobile devices like your smartphone or tablet.
  8. We know you love your pets, but they can interrupt your sleep so try to keep them off the bed or out of your room altogether if you have allergies (diabetes alert dogs excluded, of course).

Checking your blood sugar level at night

It is important to check your blood sugar level an hour before bedtime. To avoid going low overnight, experiment with bedtime snacks that will keep your blood sugar normal overnight, like hummus or guacamole with vegetables. Some healthcare providers recommend a 3:00 a.m. blood sugar test to ensure that your overnight blood glucose is stable. If you’re on an insulin pump, fine-tune your basal levels if your blood sugar level tends to drop overnight.

When to talk to your doctor or diabetes educator

If you are having trouble sleeping, we hope these tips will help. However, if you’re still struggling to get a good night’s rest, or if someone tells you that you have a snoring problem, consider talking to your doctor or diabetes educator. Snoring is an indicator of apnoea, which is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, acid reflux, and fatigue.

1 Endocrine Web. Researchers connect poor sleep and uncontrolled blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. Available at: Accessed August 24, 2015.


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