Type 1 Diabetes and Sleep: The Impact on Your Health

Did you know that sleep is incredibly important for people with type 1 diabetes? In fact, it’s just as important as food and insulin when it comes to managing your blood sugar levels. Without enough quality sleep, your diabetes can become difficult to control. In this blog post, we will discuss the impact of sleep on people with type 1 diabetes and provide some tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

If there’s anything that people living with type 1 diabetes have in common, it’s difficulty obtaining a decent night’s sleep. There may occasionally be little room for good sleep in our everyday routine, owing to extreme highs and lows in blood sugar, late-night device alarms, trips to the bathroom, and the overnight anxiety that type 1 diabetes can frequently induce.

Sleep disturbances are very prevalent in any kind of diabetes, and they can have a detrimental impact on disease progression and development of complications, according to studies. Let’s discuss how type 1 diabetes affects your sleep and what you can do to increase the quantity and quality of your rest.

The Correlation Between Type 1 Diabetes and Sleep

According to the CDC, about one-third of American adults are not obtaining enough sleep, which is defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as 7 or more hours per night for individuals aged 18 to 60.

Getting adequate amounts of sleep is especially important for people living with type 1 diabetes, as sleep deprivation can cause insulin resistance.

What Are the Health Benefits of Sleep?

There are many health benefits of obtaining adequate sleep, such as:

  • Improved mental clarity and focus
  • Increased cognitive function
  • Better decision-making skills
  • Reduced stress levels and anxiety
  • Stabilized emotions
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Stronger immune system

All of these benefits are crucial for people living with type 1 diabetes, as managing blood sugar levels is a 24/7 job. It’s impossible to be your best self when you’re exhausted from lack of sleep. Likewise, it’s very difficult to maintain optimal diabetes control when you’re not well-rested.

How Sleep Disorders Impacting Adults With Type 1 Diabetes

While type 2 diabetes is linked to many sleep problems, people with type 1 diabetes are frequently afflicted with similar issues. 

Sleep disorders commonly associated with type 1 diabetes include:

Nocturia

If you have this condition, you may wake up many times at night due to the need to urinate. This is a typical occurrence in those with type 1 diabetes due to hyperglycemia (excessive blood sugar), which causes frequent urination.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing occur when the muscles that support the soft tissues in your throat temporarily relax. When this happens, your airway may narrow or even shut, and you may be unable to breathe for a period of time, causing sleep disturbances.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is another form of sleep apnea in which you briefly stop breathing during sleep, when the brain signals that control breathing during sleep get confused.

Restless Leg Syndrome

People with restless leg syndrome feel an intense urge to move their legs, usually caused by uncomfortable sensations in the lower extremities. This can lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Insomnia and daytime drowsiness are both related to these factors, which have negative consequences not just on diabetes management, but also on a person’s overall quality of life. When you don’t get enough sleep, you will most likely need more insulin (due to insulin resistance from spiked cortisol levels) to control blood sugars. Your body will be naturally hungrier when your hormonal leptin levels are off balance, which makes eating, managing meals, and counting carbohydrates more difficult.

How To Reduce Sleep Disturbances and Improve Sleep Quality

There are several things you can do to improve your sleep quality and reduce the number of sleep disturbances you experience.

To start with, try to keep a regular bedtime and wake time schedule, even on weekends. This will help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm.

Make sure your sleeping environment is dark, quiet, and cool-ideally around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid watching television or working on the computer in bed, as these activities can be stimulating and make it difficult to fall asleep.

If you’re struggling with restless leg syndrome or insomnia, talk to your doctor about treatment options that may help. There are medications available that can help with both conditions.

Finally, practice some relaxation techniques before bedtime, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation. This can help calm your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep.

Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for people with type one diabetes- managing blood sugar levels is a 24/7 job. It’s impossible to be your best self when you’re exhausted from lack of sleep.

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