Sleep disturbances are common among people with diabetes. Common sleep disorders include sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and insomnia (difficulty falling and/or staying asleep). Persons with diabetes report higher rates of sleep disorders, poor quality of sleep, excessive drowsiness throughout the day, and enhanced use of sleeping pills.

Sleep disorders could also be because of diabetes or physical complications that result from it, like peripheral neuropathy. Assessment of sleep quality is vital in persons with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is worse once combined with sleep disorder symptoms, because of the lack of sleep that causes extreme low energy. Studies shows that lack of sleep will chemically disrupt the body’s insulin balance enough to even be a root cause for various forms of diabetes. The loss of traditional sleep hours or addition of sleep hours appears to undo the body’s chemistry and balance of glucose levels.

Causes of Sleep Disorders in Diabetes

Multiple factors might contribute to sleep disorders in persons with diabetes including-

  • Discomfort or pain related to peripheral neuropathy
  • Restless legs syndrome or periodic limb movements
  • Rapid changes in blood sugar levels at night resulting in hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic episodes
  • Nocturia and associated depression

People suffering with diabetes have a considerably high risk of developing depression in comparison to their non-diabetic counterparts and depression is one amongst the vital factors conducive to poor sleep. Moreover, diabetes has multiple impacts on the central nervous system inflicting alterations involving neurobehavioral and neurotransmitter functioning and autonomic functions, and may adversely have an effect on endocrine functions, and therefore itself cause sleep disorders or disturbances.

Symptoms of Diabetic Sleep Disorders 

There are many factors and symptoms of sleep disruption in diabetes. Therefore, an in- depth history and careful examination is conducted by your doctor for right analysis and resulting treatment of sleep disorders for individuals with diabetes. A number of the symptoms that might indicate a requirement for scheduling an appointment with your doctor could include- 

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Feeling overly drowsy throughout the day
  • History of snoring 
  • History of apnea episodes 
  • History of uncomfortable sensations within the legs in the evening that are eased by movement. 

Majority of sleep disorders may be diagnosed with correct history and physical examination. However, once diagnosis of sleep apnea is suspected, additionally, a  polysomnogram is needed for diagnosis. Once medical and psychiatric causes of sleep disorders are striked out, a diagnosis of primary insomnia could also be made.

Prevention of Sleep Disorders

Changes in lifestyle of the affected individual will have an excellent impact on overall health. This includes-

  • Creating a routine sleeping and waking time
  • Eliminating stimulants like sugar and caffeine from food and drink on the brink of bedtime
  • Ensuring a cozy and quiet sleep atmosphere
  • Making sure loud noises are often contained, bright lights dimmed 
  • Avoiding stimulating activities right before bed, together with work, exercise, watching TV or being active on your laptop
  • Including daily exercise or meditation in your schedule

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