Can poor sleep lead to diabetes?

  • Lack of sleep could release stress hormones like cortisol that could lead to insulin resistance and raise blood sugar levels, according to an expert.
Inadequate sleep also reduces levels of the hormone leptin, which helps control the metabolism of carbohydrates.(Unsplash)
Inadequate sleep also reduces levels of the hormone leptin, which helps control the metabolism of carbohydrates.(Unsplash)
Published on Nov 17, 2021 07:03 PM IST
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ByParmita Uniyal

If you have not been sleeping well for quite some time now, you might be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Just like unhealthy food, lifestyle and obesity, lack of sleep also raises your risk of getting this metabolic disorder. Sleep is as essential to your health as nutrition and exercise.

"Lack of sleep causes release of stress hormones like cortisol which leads to  insulin resistance and increases blood sugar levels. In addition, high levels of these stress hormones lead to craving for foods and drinks that are high in sugars and carbohydrates. This causes weight gain overtime leading to the development of Type II Diabetes. Lack of sleep makes it harder to lose weight," says Dr Sneha Kothari, Consultant Endocrinologist at Global Hospital Mumbai.

Inadequate sleep also reduces levels of the hormone leptin, which helps control the metabolism of carbohydrates.

ALSO READ: Eat well to fight diabetes

"Low levels of leptin have shown to increase the body's craving for carbohydrates regardless of the number of calories consumed," says Dr Kothari.

So how to know if your sleep is poor? According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Daytime sleepiness and feeling extremely tired during the day are hallmark signs of poor sleep. Other symptoms include:

* Slowed thinking

* Reduced attention span

* Worsened memory

* Lack of energy

* Mood swings including feelings of stress, anxiety, or irritability

To avoid the risk of type 2 diabetes due to poor sleep it is important to practice good sleep hygiene and keep a regular bedtime even on weekends.

Here are some tips by Dr Kothari that can help:

* Keep bedroom dark, quiet, relaxing, and cool.

* Remove electronic devices from the bedroom.

* Get some physical activity during the day.

* Mentally unwind and relax before bedtime.

* Have a routine that gets you ready for bed, like taking a shower or reading.

* Get in bed only when tired

And here are a few things to avoid:

Avoid use caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine in the evening

Avoid naps after 3 pm and long naps. This can make you less tired when it’s time for bed.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022