Poor sleep in adults with type 2 diabetes has been linked to complications such as neuropathic pain, high blood sugar levels and fatigue, researchers say.
Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing are now urging healthcare professionals to pay extra attention to people with type 2 diabetes, particularly women, in regards to their sleep patterns.
It is already well known how important sleep is to maintain good overall health, but in recent years there has been much focus on the link between poor quality sleep and type 2 diabetes.
This new study, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, involved 90 adults with type 2 diabetes and explored whether disturbed sleep has anything to do with certain diabetes-related conditions. The health and sleep data was collected between September 2013 and March 2014 using a variety of methods including a diabetes distress scale and a symptom checklist.
Elevated blood sugar levels, neuropathic pain, and fatigue were all related to sleep disturbance, even after researchers accounted for factors such as age, diabetes duration, depressive symptoms and distress.
Sleep disturbance was particularly heightened among females, which the researchers said is consistent with other literature on sleep and diabetes.
Senior author Dr Cynthia Fritschi said: “Sleep disturbance in patients with diabetes is common and may negatively affect blood glucose. A thorough sleep assessment, especially in female adults, must include a symptom assessment. To do otherwise limits our ability to treat sleep disturbance effectively in this population.”
According to the NHS, eight hours of sleep is usually enough for most people, although this can differ slightly for each individual. However, the health service stipulates good quality sleep is better than the amount of sleep someone may get per night.
If you are regularly experiencing interrupted sleep you could visit your doctor to evaluate whether something related to your diabetes or lifestyle could be causing your sleep disturbance.
Benedict Jephcote, Editor at Diabetes.co.uk, said: “It is worth considering that there may be some reverse causality at work here as high blood sugar levels and neuropathy can each lead to added difficulties in getting good sleep. If you can address sleep problems and work towards controlling your blood sugar, you can address the problems from both sides.”
A healthy lifestyle is the most comprehensive way to address the problems of type 2 diabetes. The Low Carb Program has been influential in helping people to control their blood sugar levels and improve their overall health and wellbeing. Join the program today for easy-to-follow guidance on truly healthy living.

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