The Sleep Disorder, Blood Sugar Connection
If you’ve been diagnosed as insulin resistant or with borderline diabetes, then you may want to consider investigating the possibility of a sleep disorder. Or if you have diabetes and following your treatment plan by the book and still having trouble controlling your diabetes, an undiagnosed sleep disorder could be the missing piece of the puzzle.
How does blood sugar affect sleep?
It turns out this can be a vicious cycle. Sleep can affect your blood sugar levels, and your blood glucose control can affect your rest. Simply put -poor quality sleep will cause a rise in blood sugar levels and the rise in blood sugar levels create poor quality sleep. When researchers limited study participants with type-1 diabetes to just 4 hours of sleep, their sensitivity to insulin was reduced by 20% compared to that after a full night of sleep.
To compound problem, when your blood sugar is exceedingly high, your kidneys attempt to rid your body of sugar via urination. Resulting in inconsistent sleep patterns when you have to get out of bed and go to the bathroom multiple times a night. Another symptom of high blood sugar is extreme thirst, which also can wake you.
Now let’s add an undiagnosed sleep disorder to this mix. Let’s say that when you manage to fall asleep, you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With OSA you’re snoring and stop breathing on a regular basis. This lack of oxygen during sleep causes the body to release a neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, to arouse you, so you’ll breathe. Which is good, unfortunately, the norepinephrine will reduce insulin in your blood and allow blood sugar to rise. With untreated OSA, this repeated release of norepinephrine would leave you with high blood sugar- more specifically an elevation in hemoglobin A1c. The rise of hemoglobin A1c discoverable during routine blood work.
This elevation of blood sugar levels then causes poor sleep quality, which in turn has an adverse effect on your blood sugar levels. If you are unable to get your blood sugar under control, talk to your physician today about the blood sugar-sleep disorder connection.
This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for a diagnosis, treatment, or advice from your physician.