Early to Bed: Why Sleep Matters for Type 2 Diabetes

When you get a good night’s sleep, you wake up feeling refreshed, well-rested, and healthier. Getting enough sleep is an important part of overall health. But, more than a third of Americans aren’t getting the recommended 7 hours of rest they need each night. For those with type 2 diabetes, the risks of insufficient sleep are even greater.

Why is sleep important for those with diabetes?

Less than 7 hours of sleep each night causes a shift in your body’s hormone levels.  When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces less insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar.  To make matters worse, a lack of sleep causes increased production of stress hormones, like cortisol. Cortisol makes it harder for insulin to do its job.  So, your body is making less of the blood sugar regulating hormones you need, and the limited amount of insulin is not as effective as it should be.

If all that wasn’t enough, insufficient sleep also causes fatigue which can lead to a lack of motivation to engage in healthy habits.  Exercise and smart food choices are both natural ways to control blood sugar levels. 

Insufficient sleep can be worsened by sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which is common in those with type 2 diabetes.  There are a variety of ways to assess your sleep patters and an at home assessment may be one of them.

8 AMAZING benefits of proper sleep:

  • Regulated hormone levels
  • Better immune function
  • Mental clarity
  • Efficient metabolism
  • Improved memory
  • Less food cravings
  • More energy

Luckily, the benefits of getting more sleep kick-in almost immediately!  And don’t worry, the occasional late night won’t send the amazing benefits you’ve earned out the window.  Sufficient sleep is about consistency and building healthy habits like prioritizing an early bedtime.  Like all good habits, it’s best to start small – especially if you have a large household!  Start by making bedtime 5 minutes earlier each evening, and the whole family will be enjoying healthier sleep habits before you know it!

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