Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

Fight diabetes with sleep

We comprehend these factors as a whole and, based on the concept of bio-individuality, help people align their lifestyle with their medications.

Diabetes, a lifestyle disorder, plagues millions of individuals around the world. And while there is a medication that you might be advised for the right reasons, true diabetes care begins when we address the root cause of why our blood sugar levels behave abnormally.

Diabetes goes beyond tracking sugar levels. It is a multifaceted condition that involves inflammation, metabolism, gut health, muscle mass, activity, sleep, emotional health, mindset, faith, belief system, and much more.

We comprehend these factors as a whole and, based on the concept of bio-individuality, help people align their lifestyle with their medications.

One of the crucial pillars to focus on is sleep. It begins with a good night of repose. If you have diabetes, it’s not okay to skip on sleep or be sleep-deprived.

Even medical science shows the connection between one night of sleep deprivation and blood sugar levels. You can eat the best low-GI foods, but if you are not sleeping well, you'll have irregular blood sugar levels.

Here’s how sleep affects diabetes:

1. Inflammation- Diabetes is an inflammatory disease and even medical science attests to that. The more sleep-deprived we are, the more inflammation exists in our bodies. Now, one can take curcumin supplements to get rid of inflammation, but if sleep-deprived, do you think your body requires curcumin or just sleep?

2. Cravings - Ghrelin and leptin are two appetite hormones that balance when we sleep well. Ghrelin is an appetite-stimulating hormone, and leptin is a satiety hormone. When sleep-deprived, ghrelin levels rise, and leptin falls, resulting in unexplained cravings.

3. Elevated cortisol and hormonal imbalance - If sleep-deprived, you are likely to have elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. When cortisol levels are high, it has a cascading effect on various other hormones in our body, including insulin. It triggers the state of fight or flight, prompting our body to pump more glucose into the blood for energy in an honest attempt to prepare us for this response. While our body is doing the right thing, unfortunately, it doesn’t work for us in the long run if we are chronically sleep-deprived.

4. Missing workouts - A night of inadequate sleep often results in low motivation levels to engage in physical activity. Fatigue, grogginess, and overall lethargy become barriers to regular workouts. Considering how essential regular workout is in managing blood sugar levels and building lean muscle, sleep deprivation becomes a big barrier to effective diabetes management.

5. Dampened metabolism- Diabetes is a manifestation of metabolic dysfunction. Inadequate sleep disrupts the metabolic processes, contributing to insulin resistance and impaired glucose metabolism. Fix your sleep. This is non-negotiable. Your hormones (including insulin) balance in a state of complete rest.

India is known as the diabetic capital of the world. Despite it’s rich heritage of wisdom, traditions, and abundance of spices, herbs, fruits, and vegetables, as well as the science of yoga, the statistics for diabetes are worsening. While there is ample medical care, there seems to be a fundamental issue, and sleep deprivation is one contributing factor.

Prioritising better sleep doesn’t mean sacrificing recreation, social life, dreams, or aspirations. You can have it all while ensuring you get the right quality and quantity of sleep your body and mind need.

Coutinho is an integrative lifestyle expert

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