Anyone who’s tossed and turned throughout the night, or has woken up feeling sluggish, knows how important it is to get a good night’s sleep and the misery of living without one. Sleep is important for our hormones to regulate a large number of our body’s processes, such as appetite, weight control, and our immune system. Well-controlled diabetes can lead to better sleep, and better sleep can lead to better control of glucose levels. Here are 10 tips for getting a full-night’s sleep.
1. Glucose Control
High blood glucose can cause headaches, hunger, thirst, and frequent urination. Low blood sugar can also cause hunger, headaches, night sweats, and restless sleep. Both high and low blood glucose can wake and keep you up during the night.
2. Test for Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is the most common sleep disorder in people with diabetes in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. If you have shortness of breath that awakens you from sleep, intermittent pauses in your breathing during sleep, excessive daytime drowsiness, or your partner says you snore, consult with your healthcare team for screening, and get the appropriate treatment you need for the condition.
3. Establish and Follow a Bedtime Routine
Humans are creatures of habit. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine with a warm bath, good print book, or soothing tunes to help set the mood for conking out and separate your sleep time from activities that cause excitement, stress, or anxiety. If you associate a certain activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, remove it from your bedtime routine. Stick to a bedtime schedule by going to bed at the same time every night, and waking up at the same time every morning. This will help regulate your body’s clock, and may help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
4. Avoid Stimulants and Heavy Meals
The buzz from caffeine or nicotine can take up to eight hours to wear off, so avoid drinking caffeinated drinks later in the day and smoking altogether. Eating a big or spicy meal can cause discomfort and indigestion, making it hard to sleep. If possible, avoid eating large or spicy meals two to three hours before bedtime.
5. Exercise Earlier
Exercising or doing housework too close to bedtime can make it more difficult to wind down and fall asleep. However, exercising at least five or six hours before bedtime can actually promote better sleep, helping you fall asleep and enjoy deeper sleep. Just don’t exercise at the expense of your sleep.
6. Log Off
Browsing the internet, playing on your iPhone or iPad, or doing work before bed can make you distracted, stressed, and anxious, which can make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. For some people, using an electronic device can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. Shut off all your devices and avoid doing work at least an hour before bed.
7. Skip the Nightcap
A glass a wine before bed may seem relaxing and make you feel sleepy, but alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycles. Drinking before bed can make your sleep less restful and more likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
8. Design Your Sleep Environment
Your sleep environment should meet the conditions you need to fall asleep. Your bedroom should be cool (between 60-67 degrees) and free from any noise that may disturb sleep. You may want to consider using earplugs or a white noise machine, such as humidifier or fan. It’s best to take work materials, computers, and TV’s out of the bedroom, using your bed for only sleep and intimacy to strengthen the association between bed and sleep.
9. Turn Off the Lights
Light tells us when it’s daytime or not, so people sleep better when it’s dark. Eliminate sources of light in your bedroom, turning off electronic devices that illuminate light and getting black-out curtains or a sleep mask to help darken your night.
10. Manage Stress
When you have too much to think about, it can affect your sleep. Get organized, set priorities, and delegate tasks. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind, and set it aside for tomorrow. If you’ve been lying awake in bed for more than 20 minutes, take a break and try to do something relaxing, such as reading a print book. Worrying about falling asleep only makes dozing off more difficult.
Sleep should be routinely assessed as part of your diabetes management. If you’re having problems falling or stay asleep, be sure to talk with your healthcare team. You may also want to try recording your sleep and sleeping habits in a sleep diary to help you evaluate common patterns or issues.
Tags: diabetes management