Does Diabetes Affect Sleep?

By hjp Latest Reply 2012-08-07 21:18:30 -0500
Started 2008-06-19 12:12:29 -0500

I experience regular sleeplessness or waking at 3 AM & not getting back to sleep. That is a horrible affliction & also a form of torture. Is this associated to diabetes in any way?


20 replies

paulk1989 2012-08-07 20:37:36 -0500 Report

I haven't had a good night sleep or stayed asleep throughout the night since I was 12

Caroltoo 2012-08-07 21:18:30 -0500 Report

BG ups and downs can affect your sleep because of the symptoms of being high or low. The more scientifically established connection is that sleep depravation increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Do you have a sleep routine? Stay away from the TV and computer for about an hour before bed because they are stimulating. Then do things like have a regular time to go to bed, a relaxing warm shower before bed, glass of hot milk, protein snack like almonds or a little cheese stick, and maybe a boring book that will help make you sleepy.

May people arouse from sleep just a little every 1.5 hours because of that's when REM sleep ends and you are most wakeful. It's a time when you may really still be asleep but think you are awake. If you just stay there and relax yourself with slow deep breathing, you will slide into the next 1.5 hr. sleep cycle, and keep doing this on through the night.

If this doesn't work for you, you might talk with your doctor about a sleep study. Many people here have reported really good results using the CPAP maching to keep your airways open during the night.

DonnaAnn 2008-10-23 23:02:38 -0500 Report

the only thing that diabetes does for me, as far as keeping me awake, is giong to the bathroom all the time.

Cindy Lee - 18495
Cindy Lee - 18495 2008-07-06 00:19:07 -0500 Report

I feel so much better knowing I am not alone with a sleeping problem. I wake everyday at 4:00 in the silly morning…
after a trip to the bathroom, I am awake for a few hours…I plan to start walking everyday and to stop eating after 6:00pm.

DiabetesDiva 2008-07-06 15:01:51 -0500 Report

Both my husband and I have sleep apnea and use the C-Pap (so romantic!) and the results have been amazing. It takes some getting used to and for women it gives you terrible bedhead. The white noise of the machine helps me to sleep. I do sleep better if I am eating healthy, also used to have the night sweats if i had too many carbs. Did you see the program on 60 Minutes about sleep? It affects your health in a negative way of you don't get enough restful sleep.

biscuits983 2008-07-05 04:42:53 -0500 Report

i have the same problem i think it happens when sugar level drops i find that 1/2 glass of milk and maybe a cookie or cracker helps , also make sure u eat a snack just prior to going to bed, also i had nose surgery to correct some problems doc said i don't have apnea just slowed way down (breathing)as i am sleeping

ncnurse1459 2008-06-19 16:22:49 -0500 Report

You are all on the money. Diabetics do seem to wake more from sleep. Whether it be nightime urination (nocturia)or waking from painful neuropathies (feet, hands, etc). Most diabetics will tell you they seldom have a good night's rest. There is a difference between sleep and rest. We may sleep 8 hours, but do we wake feeling rested ? There are studies available in many places that you may try. I did try a sleep study (and was paid to do it) to find out if I had sleep apnea, along with diabetes and fibromyalgia. I did not have sleep apnea in my study, but was found to have restless legs syndrome, which leaves me feeling like I wrestled all night long. RLS sometimes accompanies diabetics and those with fibromyalgia. There are meds out there that can help. Lyrica and Cymbalta work for me. Rest exercises/meditation, relaxation techniques may work for some. Angie in NC

JP - 14811
JP - 14811 2008-06-20 01:28:25 -0500 Report

I also found out in the sleep study I have restless leg syndrome. I didn't believe them about 'seizure-like leg activity' (this is called something else but I don't remember) until I made them show me the video and I was shocked. I take a generic drug for seizures at bedtime now and it has stopped. Clonazapam - it is used for many things but was initially an anti-seizure medication. My fibromyalgia symptoms are almost non-existent since I stopped aspartame too.. :)
*Judy (JP)

hjp 2008-06-29 05:43:25 -0500 Report

Hi everybody & thank you for your responses. I didn't realize that anyone had replied, or I would have sooner.

Yes, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea 2 1/2 months ago. I missed the clinic appointment & have not the sleep aid device for that.

I have a histroy of night terrors for lack of a better word. That included severe leg cramping in calves & feet, restless sleep, chronic sleeplessness & nightmares or disturbing dreams. I often used to hear myself making strange sounds while in that twilight state between waking & sleep.

Someone told me about sleep paralysis & that accurately describes much of my sleep history.

Any further comments will be most appreciated.


JP - 14811
JP - 14811 2008-06-29 10:06:02 -0500 Report

Hey Harry,
You sound like me with the history of night terrors and nightmares…The machine will help immensely!!! I haven't had a nightmare in almost 3 years either.. and I had them nightly since I was a kid!!


jupton1 2008-06-29 10:24:08 -0500 Report

I have this happen sometimes,I thought maby it was anxiety or low sugar..This is a great topic..John

jupton1 2008-06-29 10:26:50 -0500 Report

JP>>>Be very carfull with Clonazapam it is a benzo and is very addictive.It is givin for panic attacks also..Read about withdraws..Use caution..John

JP - 14811
JP - 14811 2008-06-19 15:23:55 -0500 Report

Have you been checked for sleep apnea? Although the link is not yet known, many diabetics have sleep apnea. My doctors figure I've had it all my life as I was the 'nightmare' girl since I was a little kid and thrashed in my sleep alot. They say if someone brought a 6 year old in now with those 'issues' they'd be in a sleep study the next night. That's about the time my blood sugar issues started too… hmmm My father died from issues related to sleep apnea so they tested me and I have it too. I have a CPAP machine now and sleep well. Also, another thing I take is 3 mg of Melatonine an hour before bed. We make this naturally in our bodies but as we get older (40's and up) we make less and less. We actually produce it in the dark but with our lifestyles now and all the florescent lighting we don't make enough. That might be a first step to try. My son has always had trouble sleeping (another candidate for sleep apnea I think) He's almost 20 and started taking 3 mg of Melatonine and now sleeps 8 hours in a row for the first time in his life and continues it now. But don't take more than 3 mg!! You can buy it at any drugstore or Walmart type store and it's not expensive.

Just a few things that I thought might help.. the melatonine might help, otherwise talk to your doctor about a sleep study.

Hope you find something that helps because you're right, it is torture not to sleep..


steadb 2008-06-19 15:46:20 -0500 Report

Great comments JP. I just got my Cpap machine today and am anxious to use it tonight. I was recently diagnosed with Sleep apnea. I am looking forward to trying the machine.

JP - 14811
JP - 14811 2008-06-29 10:04:17 -0500 Report

How's the CPAP working for you? It's been 9 days so thought I'd ask.

It takes a little getting used to but now I love it. I sleep straight though every night. I haven't gotten up even for a bathroom run in almost 3 years.. :)

*Judy (JP)

steadb 2008-06-30 01:29:04 -0500 Report

Thanks, JP.

The CPAP machine has had an immediate positive impact. I am quite surprised how excited I am bout how I feel. I hope the good feelings continue.

I have more energy late in the day. I don't ache as much in the morning. My focus is better. Also, I feel like I have increased my lung capacity by 40%…during the day.

I am very happy so far. It took me about 1 week to get comfortable sleeping with it but now it has the "discomfort" has become less and less of an issue. Last night, I pretty much sleep very comfortably.

It is a wonderful device.


BethP 2008-10-23 19:21:35 -0500 Report

A bit late reading this discussion. I started using a CPAP in July and have had great results! My blood pressure is now 100/70! Havent seen that since my 20's! Didnt know that there was a correlation with diabetes and sleep apnea. Both my sister (type 2) and brother (borderline-pre diabetic) have sleep apnea.

steadb 2008-10-24 00:55:54 -0500 Report

I haven't check the sleep apnea and use of Cpap on my blood pressure.

Thanks. I'll look at that.


GabbyPA 2008-06-19 12:41:52 -0500 Report

I cannot say if it is totally related to diabetes, but I know when my sugar was not controlled at all, I would have terrible night sweats. I thought it was menapause, but it turned out to be more. Now that I have things more under controll (though not completely) I do sleep much better and more comfortably. Now if I can get my dogs to quit bugging me at 4 AM I will be fine.
I have been reading about Dawn Phenomenon (I have a post in here on it) and it says that around 3 AM to 11 AM our bodies naturally release stored glucose which allows us to wake and be ready for our day. Maybe that has something to do with it?
Sometimes, it's just age...unfortunately, they don't have a pill for that.