What are the common sleep problems among diabetics?
April 7, 2018
[by Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH for Advanced Cardiovascular Sleep Disorders Center]
As if people with diabetes don't already have enough problems with their health, sleep disorders can be both common and frustrating for them.
SLEEP DISORDERS & DIABETES
Some sleep disorders can be a root cause for the development of type 2 diabetes, such as untreated sleep apnea.
Both the central and obstructive varieties of this sleep-breathing disorder can lead to oxidative stress on the heart, the pancreas, the liver, the kidneys, and other organs at night... organs that should be getting rest, but are revved up by stress hormones and wide swings in insulin and glucose levels.
Other untreated sleep disorders that might push a pre-diabetic into a full-on diagnosis include chronic insomnia (due to sleep deprivation), snoring (which has been shown to be linked to metabolic problems related to weight gain), and the problem of excessive daytime sleepiness. If you're pre-diabetic and taking long naps during the day because you simply can't stay awake, this can be a worrisome symptom.
Meanwhile, if you have diabetes, then its symptoms can then lead to problems with sleep, such as:
- Insomnia caused by chronic pain (more popularly referred to as "painsomnia")
- Insomnia caused by extreme swings in blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia) that force surges of stress hormones into the bloodstream at any time of night or early in the morning
- Frequent bathroom visits while the overtaxed kidneys and bladder try to process and eliminate excess sugars from the body
- Frequent trips to get a drink of water due to the common diabetic symptom, excessive thirst
Finally, another sleep disorder common among diabetics is restless legs syndrome (RLS, or Willis-Ekbom disorder), which can be blamed on a variety of imbalances related to metabolism.