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Things You Must Know About Diabetes and Sleep

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Up to date
Update: June 30, 2023
5 min read

Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
Diabetes And Sleep

If you are struggling with diabetes, you may experience poor sleeping habits. People with diabetes find it difficult to fall or

Sleep Guides India is here to tell you everything you must know about diabetes and sleep. Read ahead to know more!

How Does Diabetes Affect Sleep?

In a study conducted in 2012, researchers examined the connection between sleep disruptions and diabetes. They found that sleep deprivation was one of the risks of diabetes, which can be managed to a certain extent. Being a diabetic doesn’t mean you have to go through sleep struggles. But usually, the symptoms associated with diabetes cause sleep disturbances. They are; 

  • When the blood sugar levels are high at night, it can lead to frequent night-time urination and disrupt your sleep.
  • Excess glucose in your system extracts water from the tissues, leaving you dehydrated and even waking you up for water. 
  • Some of the symptoms of low blood sugar include excess sweating, shakiness, and dizziness. It can hamper your sleep.

Common Sleep Disorders in People with Diabetes

Sometimes, it’s more than the symptoms that can keep you awake. Some diabetes symptoms can cause other medical conditions, such as;

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) 

Restless leg syndrome  (RLS) is a condition where you constantly need to move your legs. One of the reasons for RLS can also be iron deficiency. High blood sugar levels, kidney problems, and thyroid risk factors for this condition. If you think you have RLS and are someone with a history of anaemia or use tobacco products, it becomes essential to visit your doctor today.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic respiratory disorder where the patient suffers from constant upper airway collapse when asleep. The risk and severity of diabetes and obesity for someone suffering from OSA also increase. Therefore, keep an eye out for the symptoms as diabetes and sleep apnea are interconnected. Sleep apnea can be why you frequently suffer from daytime fatigue and snore at night. It is a treatable condition where maintaining an ideal weight can relieve a few symptoms. 

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is when the nerves in the legs or feet become damaged. Because of the damage, you may lose feeling in the feet or experience other symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, pain or burning sensations. And this can disrupt your sleep. 

10 Ways to Sleep Better When You Have Diabetes

Now you know diabetes and sleep go hand-in-hand. However, there are easy ways to sleep better with diabetes. Try them out! 

1. Check for Sleep Apnea

As aforementioned, sleep apnea can disturb your sleep cycle as it hampers your breathing. If you have been experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, visit a doctor today for an ideal sleep cycle because sleep apnea and diabetes type 2 are related. Airway pressure devices and medical air pressure masks can help you out. If you are wondering how many hours should a diabetic sleep? The answer is at least 7 hours of sleep.

2. Prioritise Blood Sugar Management

One of the best ways to prevent diabetes and sleeping problems is to manage your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels are normal, it aids your overall well-being and helps you achieve a good night’s rest. Therefore, choose lower glycaemic foods to prevent blood sugar fluctuations. 

3. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

As a person with diabetes, you need at least 7 hours of sleep every night and no more than 9 hours. A good night’s rest aids your brain’s functionality and overall physical health

4. Keep a Regular Bedtime

If you struggle with diabetes insomnia, there are changes you don’t feel like going to bed unless you don’t feel sleepy. But having a consistent bedtime routine can stabilise your body’s internal clock. In fact, a study also found that maintaining a proper bedtime and waketime schedule can offer better sleep quality. 

5. Turn Off Electronic Devices

If you rely on your mobile phone, TV, tablet, or other electronic devices for entertainment, it is best to tuck them away at least an hour before bed. A study found that blue-light exposure elevates insulin resistance and can lead to weight gain and obesity.

6. Don’t Drink Alcohol Before Bed

Alcohol is unsuitable for people with diabetes as it can cause ketoacidosis and hypertriglyceridemia, increasing insulin resistance and leading to triglycerides (fats) in your blood. And when you consume alcohol, it takes about 2 hours for the body to metabolise any alcohol. So, it is best to avoid alcohol before bed; if you do, always consume it in moderation.

7. Exercise During Day

Exercising daily is the easiest and healthiest way to fall asleep on time. Just 30 minutes of exercise can be good for you. Exercising yourself physically during the day increases body temperature, which goes down later in the evening and helps you fall asleep faster. 

8. Find Ways to De-Stress

Diabetes is a chronic condition that can sometimes leave you stressed and overwhelmed. And high levels of stress can make it difficult for you to fall asleep and sleep loss can lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. And does sleep affect blood sugar? When you don’t sleep well, it can adversely affect your blood sugar levels. Therefore, find easy ways to de-stress yourself. You can try meditation, yoga, journaling, and talking to your friends and family. 

9. Try To Achieve a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is good for your overall health and can help you sleep better. A healthy weight can even reduce the symptoms of depression and lower the risk of developing depressive symptoms.

10. Limit Napping

Finally, control your napping. If you haven’t had a good night’s sleep, you can feel sleepy in the daytime. But long naps can hamper your sleep cycle. 

How Does Poor Sleep Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

Wondering how does diabetes affect sleep? When you don’t get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, your diabetes becomes challenging to manage. Some of the adverse effects of poor sleep are;

  • It increases insulin resistance, which is the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. 
  • It can make you feel hungrier the next day and reduce the sensation of how full you are after eating. This can lead to binge eating and also an 
  • increase in weight.
  • Your blood pressure may go up. 
  • It can weaken the immune system.
  • Lack of sleep can also increase your risks of depression and anxiety.


Diabetes and sleep are correlated. Therefore, proper sleep is one of the first steps you must take to combat your condition.


Does diabetes cause sleep problems? 

Yes, diabetes can cause sleep problems, such as;

  • You may find it difficult to fall asleep faster 
  • You may experience disturbed sleep 
  • You may end up sleeping more than the recommended amount

How many hours of sleep does a diabetic need? 

A diabetic needs at least 7 hours of sleep every night. 

Do diabetics sleep a lot? 

Some diabeteic patients sleep a lot, while others sleep less or struggle with quality sleep.

What helps a diabetic sleep?

You can try the tips mentioned above to sleep peacefully. 


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Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
With a Master's Degree in Mass Communication and nearly two decades of professional expertise in crafting healthcare articles, he possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field.

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