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How Sleep Can Improve Your Blood Sugar
Sleep Down Your Blood Sugar
Research shows that sleep plays a critical role in fighting diabetes. Here’s how to get the rest you need so you can keep your blood sugar in check.
Prevention News (2011-11) By Teresa Dumain
As a diabetic, you probably already know how important it is to eat right, exercise, and take your meds. Here’s something you may not know about controlling blood sugar: Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
Get less than six hours on most nights and you're three times more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels, according to recent research published in the Annals of Epidemiology. Even just one sleepless night can interfere with your body's ability to use insulin (and therefore regulate glucose), according to Dutch researchers.
Too little sleep also leads to more weight gain: In a national survey of 87,000 people, one-third of participants who slept less than six hours were obese. And when researchers at Columbia University analyzed 20 years' worth of data on more than 68,000 women, they found that those who got five hours or less weighed about five pounds more and were 15% more likely to become obese than those who slept seven hours.
Most adults need between seven and nine hours a night, yet one in five Americans regularly sleeps less than six hours, and nearly 70% of women report frequent sleep troubles, according to national polls. The best strategy to improve sleep, according to experts: Hit the sack and set your morning alarm for the same time every day (even on weekends)—maintaining a consistent sleep schedule keeps your biological clock in sync so you rest better.