When you’re a diabetic, almost everything in your life revolves around maintaining a normal blood sugar level. But while you might be doing everything you can to eat right, exercise regularly and take your medication on time, you might be ignoring one major factor that could influence your sugar levels. One study found that sleep deprivation could seriously hamper your body’s ability to regulate glucose. Another study by Columbia University found that among 68,000 women, those who slept for five hours or less every night had a 15% more chance of developing obesity than those who slept for seven hours or more. If you want to maintain a healthy weight and stable blood sugar levels, here are seven tips to help you sleep better.
1. Try To Eat An Early Dinner
Going to bed feeling like your tummy might burst with all the food you’ve eaten isn’t the best way to fall asleep. If you’ve eaten your dinner too close to your bedtime, you’re going to feel stuffed. Try to eat your dinner at least 2 or 3 hours before you sleep so you aren’t too full to fall asleep. If you’re an evening snacker, make sure these snacks don’t exceed 200 calories. Eating too much and having trouble falling asleep can also get you caught up in a vicious cycle. Too little sleep increases your production of ghrelin (the hormone that makes you hungry) and lowers leptin (the hormone that tells you you’re full). This means you’re going to end up continuing to eat more and sleep less.
2. Turn Off Every Light
Human beings are conditioned to fall asleep in the dark and stay awake when it’s bright outside. An hour or two before you go to sleep, dim the lights in your room or use 60-40 watt bulbs. This prepares your brain to fall asleep instead of making it more active. When you’re about to tuck in, turn off every light source in your room. This doesn’t just include your light bulbs, but also everything digital that has a light. If your phone has a blinking light, turn it face down. Turn your digital clock away from you and leave your laptop in another room. You’ll be able to fall asleep much faster once your room is completely dark.
3. Ditch Your Afternoon Coffee
You might not think that drinking coffee in the afternoon can affect your sleep at night, but caffeine can actually stay in your system for about 8 hours. Caffeine doesn’t just make it difficult for you to fall asleep, it can also affect your quality of sleep. You might not be having a deep, restful sleep when you’re still battling the effects of caffeine. Alcohol works in the same way. You might pass out after a few glasses of alcohol, but once alcohol levels drop, your body wakes up again. This can be very dangerous when you’re a diabetic. One study found that just three nights of disturbed sleep can increase your blood sugar levels by 23%.
4. Don’t Exercise At Night
Every diabetic needs to stick to a good exercise regime, but night time might not be the best time to do this. When you exercise, your body temperature increases. However, for a good night’s sleep, your body needs to cool down so it can release melatonin (the hormone which makes you feel sleepy). Working out in the late afternoon or early evening, on the other hand, gives your body enough time to cool down and release melatonin before it’s time for you to go to bed.
5. Turn On Some Background Noise
While noisy surroundings might make it difficult for you to fall asleep, a little white noise to drown out other noises can actually help. If every car honk from outside your window wakes you up, find more soothing noises to help you fall asleep. You can turn on your fan for a gentle repetitive noise that can calm you down. You can also turn on an audio recording or buy a sound machine for gentle, soothing sounds that are designed to help you fall asleep easier.
6. Spray Calming Scents
Breathing in fresh scents can help melt away your stress and let you fall asleep easily. But let’s face it, who has the time to change their sheets every day? To mimic the smell of fresh sheets without actually having to do any work, spray your pillows down with soothing essential oils. A mix of lavender and chamomile is known to be very effective in bringing about a sense of calm and helping you fall asleep.
7. Keep Your Room Cool
There isn’t a perfect temperature to help you sleep better, but in general, a slightly cooler room can make falling asleep much easier. Any fluctuations in temperature during the night can wake you up and ruin your sleep. To keep your room cool enough for you to sleep in, set your temperature to anywhere between 60 to 70 ℉.