Sweet Dreams: Lower Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk

SleepingMan_SweetDreams-LoweringYourRiskforType2DiabetesLife gets busy! That often means not getting enough restful, restorative sleep — a key to good health, repairing cells, and bringing back lost energy. Factors like aging (notably seniors 65-plus) and pregnancy can impact the sleep that you need. But most doctors provide a guideline on how much sleep is ideal: For adults, that’s seven to nine hours of sleep each night. For teens, it’s nine to 10 hours of sleep nightly. (Younger school-age kids should get 10 hours of sleep or more).

Staying up too late, suffering from insomnia (not being able to fall asleep, or stay sleeping through the night) not only leads to yawning during the day. Chronic insomnia can also be associated with high blood pressure, hormonal changes, and weight gain (a risk factor in type 2 diabetes). Studies show that getting less than seven hours of restful sleep each night could also trigger higher glucose (sugar) levels. (That’s one more type 2 diabetes risk.)

The Cleveland Clinic says that obstructive sleep apnea (which causes snoring) is common in people with diabetes. When throat muscles relax, causing the airway to narrow, breathing can stop for up to 10 or 20 seconds. Snoring means a restless night for you, and your partner! Research also points to snorers (many overweight) being at higher risk for diabetes. Those snorers with diabetes may find their disease harder to control.

Remember: When you’re too tired, you likely won’t exercise. You might also reach for unhealthy snacks. That’s a combo leading to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

For better sleep: Aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day. Skip caffeine or heavy foods for six to eight hours before sleep. Cool down the room. Dim the lights. Gently stretch. Meditate. Wind down with a good book or crossword puzzle (not your cell phone or laptop). Drift off to soothing music.

Get checked for obstructive sleep apnea if you’re told you snore a lot. Do so, too, if you awaken choking or gasping, still tired, or with headaches. All are wake-up calls to see your doctor.

By Lisa Miceli Feliciano

Sources include: www.clevelandclinic.com, www.mayoclinic.com, www.health.harvard.edu

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