Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Do you find yourself tossing and turning, or waking up in the middle ofSleep and insulin resistance the night? If so, you’re not alone. Insomnia is a common problem that affects millions of people each year. But did you know that there may be a connection between sleep problems and insulin resistance? Studies have shown that people who suffer from insomnia are more likely to have insulin resistance and other metabolic problems. In this blog post, we will discuss the link between insulin and sleep resistance, and how you can get better sleep tonight!

How does diabetes affect sleep?

Poor blood sugar levels (high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia) and reduced blood sugar levels (low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia) during the night can contribute to sleeplessness and next-day tiredness. Depression or stress about the illness itself may keep you awake at night, as with many long-term diseases.

When blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys overcompensate by causing you to urinate more frequently. These numerous trips to the bathroom during the night causing disturbed sleep. High blood glucose levels can also lead to headaches, increased thirst, and tiredness that make it harder to fall asleep.

Sleep apnea, on the other hand, is a condition in which breathing becomes briefly disrupted during sleep. Low blood sugar levels at night are another possible consequence of this. You may have frightening dreams, become anxious or irritable while sleeping, or feel dazed or lost when you awake.

If you’re feeling tired, having trouble sleeping, or have any other concerning symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. They can assist in the investigation of the problem and assist you in maintaining better blood sugar control.

How does poor sleep affect blood sugar levels?

Sleep disturbances, just like diabetes, have the potential to exacerbate one another. Poor sleep or less restorative slow-wave sleep has been linked to higher blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and prediabetes. However, it’s not totally clear whether one causes the other. Sleep restriction is thought to alter blood sugar levels owing to its effects on insulin, cortisol, and oxidative stress.

One-quarter of people with diabetes report sleeping less than six hours or more than eight hours each night, putting them at a greater risk of elevated blood sugar. Sleep deprivation also raises the chance of developing insulin resistance as a result of raising blood glucose levels in people who already have diabetes. This relationship becomes obvious by early adolescence.

Later or irregular sleeping habits have also been linked to higher blood sugar, even in non-diabetic people. However, there may be other causes at play here, such as the fact that those who sleep poorly follow an erratic diet more frequently.

Sleep deprivation causes levels of ghrelin, the appetite hormone, to rise while lowering levels of leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full. People who sleep poorly may be inclined to seek comfort in foods that increase blood sugar and are risk factors for obesity, putting them at risk of diabetes because they compensate for reduced energy levels.

Adults with type 2 diabetes who have disrupted sleep or frequent nighttime awakenings are less likely to adhere to other standards of diabetes self-care, such as getting enough exercise and closely monitoring blood glucose levels.

Poor sleep has the ability to have a detrimental influence on blood sugar levels in the short term. Individuals with type 2 diabetes who do not get enough sleep are more susceptible to psychological stress, according to some studies. There is preliminary evidence that individuals with diabetes who don’t get enough sleep may be at an increased risk of cognitive degeneration later in life.

What sleep disorders are common in people with diabetes?

sleep disorders

Individuals with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop the following sleep problems: restless legs syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that affects one in five persons with diabetes. People with diabetes are also at risk of peripheral neuropathy, which is an illness characterized by tingling or other unpleasant feelings in the extremities that might keep them from sleeping. Another disease known as peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerve damage damages the nerves. Individuals who are experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor because peripheral neuropathy must be treated to prevent long-term nerve damage.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing is halted at regular intervals throughout the night. In most situations, the sufferer is unaware that he or she is gasping, although a bed partner may note snoring and gasping. These breathing disturbances prevent the natural progression of sleep phases and reduce the quality of sleep. Obstruct

What is the connection between sleep apnea and diabetes?

Sleep apnea, while not causing diabetes directly, is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and has been found to promote insulin resistance even in non-diabetic and non-overweight individuals. According to the American Diabetes Association, up to one-fourth of people with type 2 diabetes also have OSA, while another quarter of type 2 diabetics suffer from another sleep-related breathing problem.

Obese and overweight individuals are more prone to both OSA and type 2 diabetes. However, even after taking into account obesity, OSA seems to have an impact on insulin resistance and blood sugar management. Not only does obstructive sleep apnea disrupt sleep, but it also periodically cuts off the body’s oxygen supply. These effects contribute to insulin resistance and glucose metabolism impairment.

In a number of studies, short-term treatment for sleep apnea has been found to lower blood sugar levels, while long-term CPAP therapy improves blood sugar and insulin resistance. However, other studies have failed to reveal improvements in blood glucose levels after treating OSA, suggesting that the relationship could be due to additional factors such as weight.

More study is required to further explore the nature of the connection, but it’s apparent that physical health plays a significant role in sleep apnea and diabetes. In individuals with type 2 diabetes, a combination of weight reduction and CPAP therapy may be the most effective option for treating sleep apnea.

How can people with diabetes cope with sleep issues?

sleep quality

For people with type 2 diabetes, good blood sugar management may assist improve sleep. Furthermore, consistent good sleep hygiene practices are especially important given the link between diabetes and sleep. These include both daily and nighttime behaviors, such as:

  • Adhering to a diet plan that works for you and helps keep blood sugar controlled
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Keeping a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoiding stimulants like caffeine or nicotine before bed
  • Keeping the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet

Your doctor may be able to advise you on sleep aids for diabetics or other approaches to improve your sleep if the situation is appropriate. They may opt to have a polysomnogram, also known as a sleep study, in order to determine whether sleeping difficulties are caused by a sleeping disorder. If secondary sleeplessness is diagnosed, targeted therapies such as a CPAP machine can be used to treat it.

Sleep itself affects insulin activity and blood sugar

inadequate sleep

Insufficient and poor-quality sleep has been linked to reduced insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in studies, suggesting that they can reduce your blood sugar levels (a measure of how quickly and effectively the body removes glucose from the circulation). These harmful consequences don’t take months or years to become apparent.

According to 2016 research, one night of total sleep deprivation reduced insulin sensitivity more than six months on a high-fat diet.

Partial sleep deprivation—the kind of chronic sleep debt many people experience on a daily basis—impairs the body’s ability to utilize insulin correctly and maintain blood sugar levels stable. A 2010 investigation published in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism found that after a week of sleeping 5 hours per night, healthy males had significant reductions in insulin sensitivity.

A lack of sleep can also reduce glucose tolerance, making the body less efficient in converting glucose to energy. Disrupted sleep also affects the body’s ability to maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day and night.

We don’t know much about the effect of oversleeping on insulin and glucose levels. However, recent studies show that getting too much sleep has detrimental effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.

Sleep affects other hormones that influence metabolic health

sleep quality

Sleep deprivation also promotes the release of cortisol, which makes cells more insulin resistant. Sleep deprivation also causes changes in other hormones, including thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and testosterone, resulting in diminished insulin sensitivity and higher blood sugar levels.

Melatonin, which is responsible for keeping our circadian clocks in sync and aligning our sleep-wake cycles, also appears to impact insulin. We’ve known for several years that specific gene variants linked with melatonin receptors are significantly associated with an increased chance of type 2 diabetes. Higher levels of melatonin have been shown to decrease the ability of insulin-creating cells in the pancreas to release insulin—and those genetic variants have a stronger influence on this effect.

These sleep and circadian-related changes, as well as other hormones that influence metabolism, occur in healthy and non-diabetic folks, bringing them closer to prediabetes and eventually diabetes. These sleep-related modifications also happen in persons who have diabetes, making the disease more difficult to treat and manage properly.

Sleep’s role in diet and weight raise risks for diabetes

sleep quality

Obese people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are not. Over 90% of persons with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. The simultaneous rise of obesity and diabetes has been dubbed “a twin epidemic” by scientists.

Sleep has a significant impact on hunger, exercise routines, eating habits, and hormone levels that regulate hunger and fullness. Sleep’s influence on health is evident in numerous ways, including its connection to diabetes. Sleep has an impact on diabetes indirectly via its effects on insulin and blood sugar. Because of its effect on body weight, sleep also affects diabetes indirectly.

Poor quality and insufficient sleep alter hunger hormones

Leptin levels go down when we don’t get adequate rest. Leptin is a hormone that helps keep the body’s energy equilibrium. It lowers appetite by sending messages to the brain, telling it that you’ve had enough calories because of your calorie intake—signals that lead to a sensation of fullness. Leptin also aids in fat metabolism and fatty acid catabolism in the body.

Leptin levels drop as a result of low leptin. Sleep difficulties may also cause the body to resist the appetite-slowing effects of leptin. And, according to a recent study, leptin has an active role in regulating blood sugar levels. Leptin, not for the first time, is being investigated by researchers as a potential therapy for obesity and diabetes. One method to naturally keep your body’s leptin level up is to get enough sleep.

At the same time, insufficient sleep raises levels of another hormone involved in energy balance and weight regulation: ghrelin. Ghrelin, often known as the “hunger hormone,” stimulates appetite and increases hunger and a desire to eat, throwing the body’s energy balance out of whack.

Reduced leptin and increased ghrelin, the two hormones that regulate appetite, may contribute to weight gain and are linked to an increased risk of diabetes. It also makes it more difficult for people with prediabetes or diabetes to maintain a healthy weight.

Poor sleep makes us more sedentary

When you don’t get enough sleep—whether because you’re not getting enough rest or your sleep is restless and disturbed—you burn less energy during physical activity. Regular exercise is an important method to lower your risk for diabetes as well as better manage it if you have it.

We eat the wrong things at the wrong times

Sleep deprivation causes cravings for high-fat and high-sugar meals, which can lead to diabetes and make controlling it that much more difficult. Our brains’ reward areas go into overdrive when we don’t get enough sleep. We become less patient as well as less able to execute complex judgment and decision making, the cognitive functions that allow us to make healthy, moderate eating choices. This makes us more inclined to overeat.

Sleep deprivation can make us eat more overall (one study says we consume 385 additional calories each day!) and lead to less healthy eating habits. Poor sleep also results in a greater proportion of daily calorie intake being shifted to the evening hours. Individuals who have sleeping difficulties also tend to consume more of their calories later in the day. Eating late at night interferes with circadian rhythms, which can contribute to weight gain and insulin and blood sugar problems. Sleeping during the night disrupts sleep, creating a vicious cycle of disrupted sleep and eating routines that leads to weight gain.


Does lack of sleep affect the pancreas?

There is evidence that sleep deprivation can have harmful effects on the pancreas and its ability to secrete insulin. When you’re sleep-deprived, insulin secretion is impaired and blood sugar levels are unstable. This increases the risk for prediabetes and diabetes.

Does the pancreas work at night?

No, the pancreas does not work at night. The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach that secretes insulin and other digestive enzymes.

Can diabetes cause excessive sleeping?

It is possible for diabetes to cause excessive sleeping, although this is not a common symptom. If you are excessively sleepy and have other symptoms of diabetes, you should speak to your doctor.

How many hours of sleep should diabetics get?

There is no one “right” answer to this question. Depending on your sleep habits, you may need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Some people with diabetes find that they need more sleep than usual to maintain good blood sugar control. Speak to your doctor if you are not sure how many hours of sleep you need each night.

How do you reverse insulin resistance?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Reversing insulin resistance may require making changes to your diet, exercise habits, and sleep routine. Speak to your doctor for personalized advice on how to reverse your insulin resistance.