Does Having Type 2 Diabetes Affect Your Sleep?

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Do you have Type 2 diabetes and find yourself not sleeping well at night? When was the last time you slept like a baby for more than six hours straight?

Sleeping problems are one of the most often neglected problems in Type 2 diabetes. However, as stated in an article published by Medscape Education Internal Medicine, sleep disturbances are one of the most common symptoms seen in people with this form of diabetes. In fact, as mentioned in a study conducted in the St. Boniface General Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and published by Sleep Medicine in September 2001, adults with Type 2 diabetes had a higher chance of developing insomnia, morning sleepiness and drowsiness, compared to adults with a normal blood sugar level.

What are the reasons for sleep issues and disturbances in Type 2 diabetics?

1. Peripheral neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of diabetes-related nerve damage. Your peripheral nerves allow you to feel something as rough or smooth, cold or hot, sharp or dull. If you have peripheral neuropathy, those feelings are diminished. Damage to the nerve endings in both your upper and lower extremities, is a common disorder in people with Type 2 diabetes according to the study published by Sleep Disorder. Who could possibly sleep in the face of nagging pain and discomfort in their legs? Peripheral neuropathy can be so disturbing it can really affect your sleep.

2. Having Type 2 diabetes can increase your chances of developing sleep apnea: According to a study conducted in the MedStar Research Institute, Hyattsville, Maryland, the results of which were published in the 2003 issue of Diabetes Care, obesity-related Type 2 diabetes is a large risk factor in the development of sleep apnea. If you wake up feeling tired, snore and are overweight, you could have undiagnosed sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is seen as abnormal breathing pauses and abnormal low breathing during sleep. As analyzed by the researchers of this particular study, this type of sleeping disorder in the case of Type 2 diabetes may be a centrally located problem, meaning inside the brain, instead of an obstructive symptom caused by obesity. However, further investigation is warranted to establish this fact.

3. Unstable blood sugar levels can cause sleep disturbances: A study conducted in the Rambam Medical Center and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel and published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2003 states unstable blood sugar levels can play a role in sleep pattern disturbance in diabetics. Also, a rapid increase in blood sugar levels usually results in waking up from a restful sleep. However, further research and clinical studies are necessary to further prove this finding.