How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes

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How a Good Night's Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes, How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes, Dr. Nicolle

Welcome to Diabetes Prevention Thursdays! Today, let’s talk about how a good night’s sleep can improve your diabetes. Around the time you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you may notice yourself having more issues with sleeping. This might stem from a few different causes. It may be stress from being diagnosed, it may be a poor sleep schedule, but it also might be the diabetes itself.

 

Studies have shown that those who are diagnosed with diabetes are more likely to develop some sleep problems. This might mean that you aren’t getting enough sleep, that your sleep schedule is off, or that you are getting too much sleep.

 

Regardless, none of these are good for you. It’s also been found that your body reacts to sleep deprivation in a similar way that it reacts to insulin resistance, so it’s thought to have some effects that can lead to pre-diabetes.

 

This means that if you’ve been on a poor sleep schedule for some time, it may have been a contributing factor to your diabetes. The sleep problems that result from diabetes can actually further fuel your diabetes.

 

If you have high blood sugar, you won’t be able to get much sleep, so when you wake up, you’™ll find yourself particularly tired. When you’re tired, you try to eat some foods that are high in sugar to give yourself some energy.

How a Good Night's Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes, How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes, Dr. Nicolle

However, you end up with high blood sugar as a result of that food, which makes you get less sleep, and the cycle just keeps repeating itself. In order to break this cycle, you have to do a few things.

 

First, you have to manage your blood sugar throughout the day effectively. This is probably the most important part, since it also ties in with a wide variety of other health concerns related to diabetes.

 

This will help you sleep better at night – not only because you’™ll have lower blood sugar – but you’™ll also be in a sounder state of mind. Secondly, you need to commit to a consistent and proper sleep schedule.

 

Set yourself a hard sleep and wake up time, and stick with it religiously. Try to get in bed around 30 minutes before your sleep time, so you’ll have time to actually fall asleep.

 

Also be sure to put away any electronics around an hour before bed, since they have been shown to make falling asleep more difficult. Have your alarm set for a consistent time each day, and take some time to get used to this new schedule.

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How a Good Night's Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes, How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes, Dr. Nicolle

 

I wanted to talk about this topic because it is absolutely possible to prevent and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes (but you cannot reverse Type 1).  Yes, it’s possible! and emerging studies looking at lifestyle medicine and prevention support this! But I always tell my patients that you must be dedicated and diligent in adopting a healthy lifestyle to get the best results. You can create certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, to help break the cycle of this chronic disease so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve your blood sugar levels, maybe reverse type 2 diabetes. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.

 

Tools For Diabetes Prevention and Monitoring

Blood Sugar Monitoring

As you know, I always stress the importance of taking control of your health. Monitoring your blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to do this. To do this, a single drop of blood is collected with disposable lancets and placed on a disposable test strip, which you insert into a home blood-sugar monitoring device, called a glucometer.

 

The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up (fasting), before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime; however, you should check your blood sugar as many times a day as your health care team suggests.

 

Monitoring your blood sugar level provides you and your doctors with important knowledge about how food, activity, medication, stress, and other elements might affect your blood sugar levels. This data will assist you and your doctor in developing a therapy plan that is suited to your demands.

 

There are several types of blood glucose meters, lancets, and test strips to choose from. I often recommend this glucometer, lancets, and test strips.

 

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases such as diabetes, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).

 

Physical Activity

Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity actually improves insulin sensitivity. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.

 

I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.

 

Yoga

Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.

 

Resistance Training

Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Here are some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.

 

Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.

How a Good Night's Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes, How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes, Dr. Nicolle

Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet and regular physical activity are the best ways to prevent diabetes. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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How a Good Night\'s Sleep Can Improve Your Diabetes

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