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Recognizing Sleep Disorders in Diabetics

Diabetes has a lot of impact on sufferers, one of which triggers sleep disturbances. In fact, poor sleep quality can interfere with insulin production. Check out the explanation of various sleep disorders in diabetics below.

Recognizing Sleep Disorders in Diabetics

Sleep Disorders That Can Occur Due to Diabetes

Sleep disorders in diabetics often occur. This not only hinders productivity during the day, but also interferes with insulin production.

The hormone insulin is needed by the body to process sugar into energy. If production is hampered, blood sugar levels with diabetes, aka diabetics, will not be controlled.

Apparently, there are various conditions that explain why people with diabetes experience sleep problems. Some of these causes include:

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

In general, sleep disturbances in diabetics occur due to: sleep apnea. This condition occurs when your breath stops several times during sleep.

Sleep apnea causes the amount of oxygen in the blood to decrease. This low oxygen level can be very fatal because it affects important organs, such as the brain and heart.

According to research conducted in 2009, as many as 86 percent of participants with diabetes have diabetes sleep apnea. About 55 percent of them experience severe symptoms that require treatment.

2. Hypoglycemia

Sleep disturbances due to diabetes can be related to low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). This condition is better known as nocturnal hypoglycemia.

Nocturnal hypoglycemia can occur when you don’t eat overnight or when medications and insulin are used in excess of what they should be.

Also Read: Tips to Prevent Hypoglycemia in Diabetics

3. Hyperglycemia

Not only decreased blood sugar levels, increased blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) is also a cause of sleep disturbances in diabetics.

Hyperglycemia can happen if you eat too many calories, miss your diabetes medication, or have certain diseases. Not only that, stress can also trigger blood sugar to rise.

4. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) or restless legs syndrome is a disorder when you want to constantly move your legs. The cause of this condition is iron deficiency.

When experiencing this syndrome, the quality of sleep can decrease because it makes it difficult for you to fall asleep or wakes up in the middle of sleep.

Several risk factors that can increase this occurrence, including:

  • Kidney problems.
  • Thyroid disorders.
  • High blood sugar levels.

5. Insomnia

Sleep disturbances in diabetics can signal insomnia. This occurs when you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or having trouble getting back to sleep after waking up.

The risk of insomnia can increase if you have high blood sugar levels or experience severe stress. In addition, diabetes medications are known to trigger insomnia.

According to research conducted on a small scale, oral anti-diabetic drugs can cause type 2 diabetes sufferers to have trouble sleeping.

6. Nocturia

Frequent urination (polyuria) is one of the classic symptoms of diabetes. If the urge to urinate occurs at night when you are asleep, this condition is called nocturia.

Nocturia considered a major cause of sleep disturbances in diabetics. Usually people who experience it will urinate twice or more at night.

7. Depression

Depression and insomnia have a close relationship that is difficult to separate. In some people who are depressed, insomnia can occur. Meanwhile, people who previously had insomnia are at risk of developing depression.

Depression is a sleep disorder in diabetics that must be considered. The reason is, if the symptoms of depression appear accompanied by poor sleep quality, the sufferer’s quality of life can decrease.

8. Peripheral Neuropathy

One of the causes of sleep disturbances that afflict diabetics is damage to the nerves in the feet and legs. This condition is known as peripheral neuropathy.

If you experience it, diabetics can feel tingling, numbness, burning, and pain in the feet.

Also Read: Link Between Long Naps and Increased Risk of Diabetes

How to Improve Sleep Quality for Diabetics

If you experience one of the several sleep disorders above, you should check with your doctor to get the right treatment.

In addition, to improve sleep quality, there are several tips that can be done, including:

  • Routinely check blood sugar: This is done to control blood sugar levels. Make sure that the levels remain within the normal range.
  • Avoid distractions: Before bedtime, avoid using electronic devices, such as gadgets.
  • Create a comfortable sleeping atmosphere: Make sure the bedroom is noise-free, has good air circulation, and supports lighting. You can also add whitenoise to support sleep.
  • Apply a healthy lifestyle: You can try to wake up earlier, exercise regularly, and have a healthy diet.
  • Maintain ideal body weight: This method is done to prevent obesity. Please note, people with obesity are at a higher risk of experiencing sleep problems or insomnia.
  • apply sleep hygiene: Schedule going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including holidays.
  • Avoid stimulants at night: In order to get quality sleep, avoid consuming caffeine or exercising at high intensity before going to bed.

Now, That’s an explanation of sleep disorders in diabetics that diabetics should know. Don’t forget to adopt a healthy lifestyle and check blood sugar regularly.

  1. Anonymous. 2022. Type 2 Diabetes and Sleep. (Accessed January 24, 2023).
  2. Foster, Gary D., et al. 2009. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Among Obese Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. (Accessed January 24, 2023).
  3. Pearson NJ, et al. 2006. Insomnia, Trouble Sleeping, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Analysis of the 2002 National Health Interview Survey Data. (Accessed January 24, 2023).
  4. Purdie, Jennifer. 2021. How Does Diabetes Affect Sleep? (Accessed January 24, 2023).
  5. Surani, Salim, et al. 2015. Effect of Diabetes Mellitus on Sleep Quality. (Accessed January 24, 2023).
  6. Villalines, Zawn. 2022. Can Depression Cause Insomnia? (Accessed January 24, 2023).
  7. Xue, Pei, et al. 2021. Oral Antidiabetics and Sleep Among Type 2 Diabetes Patients: Data From the UK Biobank. (Accessed January 24, 2023).
  8. Zhang, Pan, et al. 2016. Combined Effects of Sleep Quality and Depression on Quality of Life in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. (Accessed January 24, 2023).

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