The Link Between Diabetes and Sleep

The Link Between Diabetes and Sleep

Good quality sleep

The hypothesis of sleep implies that sleep helps your body recover from all the work it did while you were awake. Having good quality sleep is a key feature of health. Too much sleep or too little sleep can have an adverse effect on your health.

Good quality sleep is also vital for your hormones to control various processes in your body such as your immune function, desire for food, and the ability to control your weight.


Did you know that there is a link between diabetes and sleep?

Let’s take a look…

As I mentioned earlier, sleep has an effect on your hormones. Lack of sleep can affect the way your body responds to the hormone insulin and weakens insulin sensitivity. Weakened insulin sensitivity is also known as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance increases your risk of diabetes and even heart attack, obesity, high blood pressure and stroke.

Research surrounding the possible link

A study published in 2012 in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that in healthy adults, after sleeping for 4.5 hours after four nights, their insulin sensitivity was reduced by 16% compared to the adults who slept for 8.5 hours after four nights.

The study concluded that insufficient sleep results in an insulin resistance in the human cells specialized for fat storage and suggested a link between diabetes and sleep.

Another meta-analysis of prospective studies published in 2015 in Diabetes Care assessed the relationship between sleep duration and the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study showed a U-shaped relationship between the length of sleep and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

It finds that the risk of type 2 diabetes was at its lowest if the sleep duration was 7-8 hours.

It also finds that both short and long periods of sleep are linked to an increased risk of diabetes suggesting a link between diabetes and sleep and the importance of the duration of your sleep.

So what if you are not getting SUFFICIENT sleep? Here are 6 tips to help you:

The Link Between Diabetes and Sleep1. Practise going to bed (if possible before 11pm) and waking up at the same time every day. It will go a long way to help keep your hormones balanced.

2. Take a warm bath for 30 minutes before your bed time; add 2 cups of Epsom salts which is rich in magnesium the relaxing mineral.

3. Make sure your bedroom is very dark with no light at all.

4. Stop using the computer, tablets, iPad, mobile phones etc. at least two hours before your bedtime and leave it off.

5. Do not take sugar, caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants before bed time.

6. Have your last meal three hours before your bed time.


Sleep is not just about quantity, the quality of your sleep is important.

Don’t see sleep as simply a bother that gets in the way of the things you do such as work, looking at email, family, watching TV and even exercise. There is a link between good health and good sleep. And there is a link between diabetes and sleep.

Connect with Expert Anne Anyia.


– Broussand J L, Ehrmann D A, Van Cauter E, Tasali E, Brady M J (2012) Impaired Insulin Signalling in Human Adipocytes After Experimental Sleep Restriction: A Randomised, Crossover Study, Annals of Internal Medicine157: 549-557.

– Shan Z, Ma H, Xie M, Yan P, Guo Y, Bao W, Rong Y, Jackson C L, Hu F B, Liu L (2015) Sleep duration and risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Diabetes Care,38: 529-537