Millions of Americans are living with diabetes—but doctors say lack of exercise and nutrition may not be the only causes driving this disease. “There is a correlation between sleep and diabetes. Disrupted sleep can lead to more insulin resistance,” explained Dr. Jose Colon, a sleep medicine physician with Lee Health.
Over time, insulin resistance can increase blood sugar causing diabetes. “Every patient that I see, I do a medical history and diabetes is a concern that really comes up many times,” he said.
If a patient can get their sleeping habits under control, their diabetes can improve. “I work with the patients in making sure they are getting adequate total sleep time. If there are issues that are keeping them up, what can we do to relax these,” said Dr. Colon.
Keeping regular sleep and wake times and limiting electronics before bed is important to develop healthy sleep habits. “Light exposure during sleep has been associated with increased diabetes. Preliminary studies are coming out showing that during sleep if you are exposed to light that you have higher rates of insulin resistance,” he said.
Things like reading and meditating before bed can help you get a good night’s sleep. “I do work with my patients with mindfulness-based stress reduction, or meditation, which has been shown to be helpful for sleep, but it’s also been shown to be helpful for diabetes as well,” said Dr. Colon.
Maintaining regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and a healthy sleep routine can all help to lower your risk for diabetes and improve your quality of life.