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Is Diabetes Reducing Your Sleep Time?

Verified By Dr Sheethal Brahmesh January 15, 2021 4226 0
diabetes sleep disorder
Is Diabetes Reducing Your Sleep Time_


Type 2 diabetes is a very prevalent lifestyle disease in the world today. India is called the diabetes capital with a prevalence of 10-15 per cent in urban young Indians, and a much higher prevalence rate in the older age group. But did you know that high blood sugar levels, the characteristic of diabetes, is linked to poor sleep quality and insomnia? Well, it is true! As many as one in two people with diabetes may be affected by sleep disorders. Let us understand more about the diabetes and sleep connection.

How does Diabetes Affect Your Sleep?

Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels due to resistance to the effects of insulin or insufficient production of insulin to maintain the normal blood sugar levels. There have been a few studies done that explored the connection between having high blood sugar level and disturbance in sleep.

Sleep disturbances can include a wide range of problems such as – difficulty in falling asleep, trouble in getting good sleep, waking up or staying up at night, etc. What is known is that the symptoms of diabetes  are more likely to cause sleep troubles.

  • Diabetics  have frequent urination, thus you are more likely to get up frequently at night . This can result in poor sleep quality and duration.
  • The excess sugar levels in your blood absorbs water from your tissues, leaving them dehydrated and you  would feel thirsty. So, diabetics are also more likely to wake up to drink water. This can lead to disturbed sleep too.
  • Sudden changes in blood sugar levels in diabetics can give rise to dizziness, excessive sweating, etc., which can disturb your sleep.

Frequent tossing and turning at night is a common feature with most diabetics and those with prediabetes. This also affects one’s sleep quality.

Which Sleep Disorders are Common in Diabetics?

There are a few disorders that are common among diabetics. Some of these include:

This condition is characterized by an unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling in the legs that makes you want to constantly move your legs. This makes it harder for one to fall asleep. Though RLS can occur due to a deficiency of iron in the body, other causes of the condition include kidney problems, thyroid problems, and high blood sugar levels observed in diabetes. RLS  can impair sleep .

  • Insomnia

This is one of the most common sleep disorders characterized by difficulty or inability to fall asleep. There are many reasons for insomnia, including stress. Stress is also observed in diabetes, hypertension, and other lifestyle diseases.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA)

Sleep apnea is very common in people who suffer from type 2 diabetes. In this condition, your breathing stops briefly and starts again after a pause throughout the night. This condition is particularly seen with people who are obese as they have constricted airways. Such individuals feel tired and worn out during the day and snore at night. Obesity and diabetes are also interlinked. Therefore, reducing your body weight, regular workouts, and healthy eating can help relieve OSA and improve your sleep quality as well as the diabetes.

Is There a Relation Between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes?

Sleep apnea and diabetes are both common occurrences in people who are obese or overweight. Sleep apnea, however, can also occur in individuals who are nondiabetic yet overweight or obese. The reason OSA is seen in diabetics is because it affects insulin resistance.

Also, OSA causes a sudden cut-off in oxygen supply for a few seconds when the breathing stops. This causes a fragmented sleep and further increases insulin resistance. This sets off a vicious cycle of high blood sugar levels and sleep trouble. Thus, OSA is considered a risk factor for diabetes.

How can Diabetics Cope with Sleep Troubles?

If you are a diabetic and suffer from sleep trouble, here is what you can do!

  • Get regular exercise to reduce your weight, control your sugar, and improve insulin resistance.
  • Maintain and follow a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid screen time at least one hour before your sleep time.
  • Have a healthy diet plan that helps reduce your blood glucose levels and improves sleep.
  • Avoid any form of stimulants like alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine 3-4 hours before your bedtime
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and remove any form of disturbances.
  • Seek medical attention to manage the symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe you medications for insomnia, if required.


Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.


There is a correlation between diabetes and sleep. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and controlling your blood glucose levels can help you improve your sleep quality. This is a treatable problem and if you feel your diabetes is getting in the way of your sleep, after a thorough evaluation, you will be given the most effective treatment plan based on your conditions that can help you get a good night’s sleep while maintaining normal blood sugar levels.

Verified By Dr Sheethal Brahmesh
MBBS, MRCP, PG Diploma in Endocrinology & Diabetes, Consultant Internal Medicine Physician Apollo Hospitals, Sheshadripuram, Bengaluru

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