Enough cannot be said about the importance of getting enough sleep. No matter if you need to get yourself a special neck pillow or do certain activities before going to bed- use everything you have to make sure you can sleep and let your body rest. Everyday, more research is coming out with ailments that can potientially affect you- all related to lack of shut-eye time: Among them- obesity, high blood pressure and type II diabetes- You thought that eating too many sweets could land with you a diabetes diagnosis- think again.
Diabetes occurs when the blood levels of glucose (a sugar) are too high because the body does not release or use insulin properly. Insulin is very important because it is responsible to maintaining the proper amount of blood sugar level. Insulin allows the sugar to be transported into cells so that they can produce energy or store the glucose until it is needed. Insulin is released by the pancreas.
In type II diabetes the pancreas continues to make the insulin but the body develops a resistance to it, resulting in a relative insulin deficiency.
How is this related to sleep? When you don’t get enough sleep your body needs more insulin to maintain the proper glucose levels. A lack of sleep changes the sympathetic nervous system (your bodys stress control system) and hormonal balances which affects glucose regulation. This affects the insulin producing cells. They stop working properly- therefore the glucose levels in your blood rise because insulin is not there to do its job.
Being overweight is also tied into this. Extra fat on the body makes it harder to cells to properly use insulin. When you are tired your body produces more ghrelin which is a hormone that stimulates appetite and decreases production of leptin which tells you to stop eating because you are full. So you end up craving more carbs and calories because of the hormone imbalance. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that when healthy subjects got only 8 hours of sleep over 4 days, they found an increased amount of ghrelin and decreased amount of leptin.
Symptoms of diabetes to be on the lookout for include: excessive urination, excessive thirst, excessive hunger, blurred vision, drowsiness, nausea, and decreased endurance during exercise.
If you have a family history of diabetes or of a certain race (African American, Native American and Hispanic) or are taking certain medications (immunosuppressive drugs, steroids, depression meds) you are going to be even at more risk and therefore more susceptible to diabetes if your don’t get the proper amount of sleep.