When people hear the term, “Healthy Lifestyle” they often think about nutrition and exercise. Although these components are certainly important, they don’t complete the picture of healthy living. One of the most often overlooked components is QUALITY RESTFUL SLEEP. Reduced sleep affects the body more significantly than most people realize. In addition to loss of clarity (grogginess) sleep deprivation has become associated with blood sugar problems (Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes). There are two interesting mechanisms causing this:
When people are tired they often turn to food (consciously and sub-consciously) as a source of fuel for energy. When poor food choices are selected (especially before bedtime) blood sugar levels commonly elevate. To reduce these levels, the body calls on the kidneys to excrete this excess sugar through urination. This night time “trip to the bathroom” causes sleep interruption complicating a normal sleep pattern in a person already sleep deprived. This recurring pattern can lead to abnormal blood sugar levels resulting in Diabetes over time.
Sleep deprivation can also affect the body’s “biological clock” causing disruption in its normal hormonal cycle. When we achieve restful sleep (for approximately 7-9 hours,) insulin is released in the body to remove excess sugar from the blood. When sleep is compromised it alters the body’s ability to utilize the insulin circulating in the body. This is known as INSULIN RESISTANCE. This recurring pattern can lead to abnormal blood sugar levels resulting in Diabetes over time.
Whether poor sleep quality causes elevated blood sugar or is the result of elevated blood sugar, we can see the important role sleep plays in maintaining GOOD HEALTH and its role in preventing the onset of Diabetes.