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  • Writer's pictureMihil Ramaiya

Sleep and Sugars

The weekend is easily the best time of the week. Friends plan to meet, go for parties and concerts, explore places and the list is endless. On the other hand, I am excited about getting into my blanket with my laptop, watching Netflix and sleeping. I wish this cycle continues forever. I’ve been love with sleep for years. Little did I know that sleep had an effect on my blood glucose levels! So all sleep lovers, gear up!

I have been following Adam’s Corner on diatribe religiously. Adam Brown, a Type 1 Diabetic, shares his life experiences and provides hacks to tackle daily challenges. His inclination towards diabetes technology resonates with me. In his book, Bright Spots and Landmines, Brown discusses the importance of sleep in the final chapter. In his latest article, “The Most Destructive Diabetes Landmine : Lack of Sleep?”, he shares his opinion on a book called Why we sleep? He states that sleep should be the first chapter of a book that discusses diabetes management. Yes! You read it right, all sleep lovers, our passion ranks quite high when it comes to managing blood glucose levels.

What happens when we do not sleep:

  • Type 2 Diabetes (or insulin resistance) is a lifestyle disease. Lack of sleep (real bad lifestyle) increases insulin resistance. As T1s, we produce little to no insulin. Developing resistance to the same would obviously prove quite a handful while managing blood glucose levels.

  • Ever noticed someone who has slept less? Or ever noticed yourself when you could not finish your quota of sleep and went to work? Are you productive? How do you feel?

  • Our blood sugars are generally on the higher side when we are anxious or stressed. Yes, you got it right! Stress and anxiety could be a result of less sleep too. So now we have a direct correlation between lack of sleep and increased sugar levels, don’t we?

  • Reduced sleep affects eating patterns. The fullness we feel after eating reduces. Due to this, one may end up overeating which can lead to an imbalance in blood glucose levels. Moreover, one will constantly feel exhausted and will have constant need for energy. We subconsciously turn to carbohydrates for energy. So this poses a risk of weight gain due to carb loading and latent spikes in blood glucose levels which may need to be corrected later.

  • I recently went to a diabetes camp and there was a session on ‘leading a good lifestyle’. The doctor emphasised on the role of the liver (it stores and manufactures glucose depending on the body’s need). He also went on to say that the liver works and recuperates itself between 11pm and 3am everyday. This is the time one HAS to sleep to remain healthy.

How do we sleep?

  • Most of our alarms look like this and that’s the answer to how one should not sleep (or wake up). When someone is woken up by an external disturbance, it is damaging to the brain and not the best way to wake up. Hence, one should get enough sleep before the alarm goes off.

  • One should not need a caffeine fix every morning to carry on (one should not, I definitely do). People say that their head aches if they do not consume coffee, which definitely is a bad sign and means that their brain is not rested enough.

Keep all technology away while sleeping
  • Mobile phones have harmful rays which directly affect brain cells. Keep your phone switched off (yes, alarms would work even if your cell phone is off) or on airplane mode (yes, alarms work here too!).

  • 4. Ever played or watched a football match? What happens if a goal is scored after a game ends? Does it count? Similarly, one cannot “make up” for a week’s sleep by compensating on weekends. And as much as it breaks my heart to admit, too much sleep is not good for the body.

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