The Impact of Glucose on our Daily Lives: Sleep
Florence Comite MDJanuary 31, 2022
Are glucose and sleep quality connected?
Glucose levels will naturally fluctuate during the day, and will usually go up at night, regardless of sleep quality. However, a 2019 study found that 62% of people with glucose levels in the pre-diabetes range are likely to have poor sleep, compared to 46% of people with glucose in the target range.
Although the precise causes are unknown, a 2020 Korean study measuring sleep quality found that lower levels of HbA1c (a marker for average glucose circulating in your blood over 100 days) was “significantly associated with sleep efficiency”. They observed that diabetic participants suffered from poor sleep quality more often than prediabetic individuals, which in turn suffered from poor sleep quality compared to the non-diabetic participants.
Why do my glucose levels fall at night?
While a drop in glucose is easily treated during the day, it is obviously harder to monitor and treat during the night when patients are asleep. Almost half of all episodes of low glucose, and more than half of all severe episodes, occur at night during sleep, a condition known as nocturnal hypoglycemia, which is frightening but it’s simply a medical term that means nighttime low sugar! This is quite worrisome as low sugar at night will disturb sleep and is not acceptable for optimal health, it is an indicator of current pre-diabetes and predicts future diabetes.
Affecting mainly diabetics and pre-diabetics, there are particular habits that may increase the risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia including, but not limited to, alcohol intake, timing of food intake, diet/nutrition,and exercise.
Symptoms may include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Night sweats or cold flushes
- Temperature intolerance
- Hormonal disturbances
- Metabolic irregularities
To reduce your risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia:
- Monitor glucose using a CGM, 24X7, particularly during sleep.
- Avoid or limit or cut down alcohol, particularly, and not within three hours of bedtime.
- Avoid exercising in the evenings, unless that is the only time available. Use a CGM to assess your sugar fluctuations after exercising in order to address the potential impact of low glucose afterwards.
- Be sure to incorporate lean protein with your evening meal.
- Finish eating your last meal and/or snack at least 2 hours prior to bedtime. Stop all intake at that time, except water. Electrolytes are fine.
At Groq Health, we use continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) to enable patients to monitor their sugar in response to sleep, food, drink, variations in diet, exercise, and restorative practices (Tai Chi, meditation, Yoga, Qigong), along with other factors.
Each Groq member collects data on an N-of-1 basis using our groundbreaking personalized app to sort out the unique combination that will make a difference for each person. For more information, visit www.groqhealth.com.
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