The connection between lack of sleep and Type 2 diabetes
95 percent of all people in the Unites States who are diagnosed with Diabetes have Type II Diabetes. Could this scary statistic be lowered by simply getting more sleep?
Most of us have heard of the typical factors leading to the development of Type II Diabetes:
unhealthy eating choices
lack of exercise
However, lack of sleep has also been found to be a contributor to Type II Diabetes. Did you know that sleep deprivation can lead to a pre-diabetic state?
Type II Diabetes is a disease where the body has difficulty regulating blood sugar levels.
When you don't get enough sleep, the hormone levels in your body can also become irregular. This includes cortisol, a hormone that keeps your body awake. When we lack sleep, the body may produce additional cortisol. While cortisol production increases in the body, blood sugar levels may also increase. While this occurs a small degree within the body naturally, our behavior drives this change even more by what we eat.
In an attempt to balance the increase in blood sugar levels, your pancreas will produce extra insulin to process the additional sugar in your body. While your body produces more of this stress hormone it is harder for your insulin to do its job effectively, resulting in unhealthy amounts of sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream. Overtime, the pancreas cannot keep up with the work of keeping your blood sugar levels normal. This difficulty in regulating blood sugar levels is called Type II Diabetes.
High levels of these stress hormones also affect our behavior, causing us to crave some of our favorite sugar filled foods. When we lack sleep, we typically consume and crave foods and drinks that are high in sugars and carbohydrates. Overtime, an increased consumption of these foods will cause weight gain and increased blood sugar, which can lead to the development of Type II Diabetes.
Continuously not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep causes less insulin to be released in your body after you eat while your body secrets more stress hormones, which helps you stay awake, but insulin cannot do its job effectively. Too much glucose stays in the bloodstream, which increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When insulin is not functioning properly, high blood sugar levels build in the body reaching a point where they can harm the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart.
These negative effects can be shown with getting between four and a half to six hours of sleep per night. Restorative stage of sleep or "deep sleep" plays a big part in maintaining proper insulin levels and blood sugar control. If loss of sleep only occurs for a few days, these potentially damaging effects can be reversed. However, it is recommended that you get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and maximize your body's full functioning.
If you think you may have a serious sleep disorder that is preventing you from sleeping, such as sleep apnea, please contact your doctor or make an appointment for a sleep study at Reid Health Sleep Disorders Center.