Type 2 diabetes can seem like a daunting diagnosis because it requires you to overhaul key aspects of your lifestyle, such as your daily dietary intake, in a bid to control rising blood sugar levels. If left untreated, rising blood sugar levels can lead to a number of life-threatening complications, such as heart disease and stroke. The condition is usually triggered by an accumulation of unhealthy lifestyle decisions, such as eating an unhealthy diet and not getting enough exercise.
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Another major risk factor you may not know about is failing to get the required amount of sleep at night.
Ongoing sleep loss can wreak havoc on blood sugar management, raising your risk of developing the chronic condition.
What is the connection between type 2 diabetes and blood sugar levels?
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), the primary reason ongoing sleep loss can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes is because it disrupts your hormone levels.
As the health site explained: “Specifically, with ongoing sleep loss, less insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar) is released in the body after you eat.
“Meanwhile, your body secretes more stress hormones (such as cortisol), which helps you stay awake but makes it harder for insulin to do its job effectively.”
As a result, too much glucose stays in the bloodstream, which can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, explains the NSF.
According to the health body, the risk association with sleep loss has been observed in people getting between four and a half to six hours of sleep per night.
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In addition, getting too little sleep can increase your appetite and reduce your level of satiety, causing you to crave carbohydrates and sugary foods, in particular, adds the health site.
Carbohydrate is broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels that other food groups.
Furthermore, research supports the link between disturbed sleeping patterns and developing the chronic condition.
In one study, researchers examined the associations between sleep disturbance and diabetes.
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Sleep disturbance includes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleeping too much.
The study found a clear relationship between sleep disturbance and diabetes, with concluding that that sleep deprivation is a significant risk factor for diabetes, which can sometimes be controlled.
Fortunately, by making simple lifestyle tweaks, you can fix sleep loss and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the process.
Diabetes.co.uk recommends trying the following:
- Keep your blood glucose under control
- Ensure your bed is large and comfortable enough – and pillows at a comfortable height
- Ensure your room is cool (around 18 degrees Celsius) and well ventilated
- Ensure your room is dark and free from noise – if this is not possible, you may benefit from a sleeping blindfold or ear plugs
- Incorporating a period of exercise into each day
- Stick to a regular bed time
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
According to the NHS, many people have type 2 diabetes without realising because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
- Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
You should speak to your GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting it, advises the health body.
It added: “The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better. Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.”
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