Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Does Insomnia Worsen Diabetes?


A diabetes expert shares some advice.

I often can’t sleep and it seems bad for my blood sugar. What’s up?

Diabetes and sleep problems can have a “chicken and egg” relationship. If your sleep is interrupted because you are getting up several times a night to urinate, it’s a sign that your blood sugar level might be high. And your blood sugar level might be high because chronic sleepiness causes hormonal changes that make you hungry and more likely to fill up on extra carbohydrates and calories.

To help improve your blood sugar control, eat plenty of lean protein and fiber throughout the day while spacing out your carbohydrates. When bedtime rolls around, set yourself up for success: Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and comfortable. Use the bed for sleep and sex only; the light and stimulation your television and computer screens give off can add to your sleep problems. 

Diabetes and obesity are also related to a breathing disorder called sleep apnea, in which your breathing pauses or becomes shallow during sleep and causes disruptions in your sleep. There are effective treatments for sleep apnea. If you aren’t sleeping well and have high blood sugar levels, please make an appointment to see your doctor. 

Published on February 20, 2015.

Advice by Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE. Susan has a master’s degree in applied physiology and nutrition and co-authored The Complete Diabetes Organizer: Your Guide to a Less Stressful and More Manageable Diabetes Life.  

Reviewed by Nora Saul, MS, RD, LDN, CDE on January 11, 2015.
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