Sleep away your diabetes

Insufficient sleep is one of the outcrops of a fast and furious lifestyle. We talk enormously about changing our eating and exercising enough, but somehow sleeping habits are not so much talked about unless it is related to beauty. The present generation is either working or studying or partying late into the night. Consistent lack of sleep over time can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiac diseases, depression and obesity. Therefore medical researchers are now saying that a good night’s sleep should be appreciated as being equally important as exercising and eating well for good health.

The new born slumbers most of the day. As we age, our sleep requirements reduce. The healthy sleep norm is about 8 hours for an adult and a bit over 9 hours for children.

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep is the passive activity that calms and recuperates the body after the day’s work and prepares it to face the next day with energy and mental alertness. During deep sleep, the blood pressure lowers, breathing slows down, heart rate regularises, tissue repair (and growth) happens, and hormones that control appetite are released. The body is in a state of restoration. American Cancer Society found that those who slept less than 6 hours every night or more than 9 hours risked a death rate of 30% higher than those who got 7 to 8 hours of night sleep.

Sleep and diabetes

Initially, researches established that constant lack of sleep raises insulin resistance. But recent research found that even one night’s diminished sleep can cause insulin resistance in otherwise healthy individuals. Insulin resistance leads to type 2 diabetes. Diabetics may get their blood sugar under better control by getting a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep.

How to get good sleep

Not only the quantity of sleep but the quality of sleep is crucial to good health. It is in deep sleep that the body rejuvenates and promotes good health.

- Do not exercise strenuously 2 hours before bedtime. The increased metabolic rate after an exercise session will hamper one’s sleep.
- Avoid eating sweet, spicy, salty and heavy meals 3 hours before bedtime. If you are diabetic, have light dinner that contains complex carbohydrates and moderate protein and later a snack of fruit and half to one glass of fat free milk at bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine drinks like coffee, black tea, chocolates and soft drinks late evenings.
- Avoid alcohol drinks about 4 hours before bedtime. Using alcohol to induce sleep is not a good idea as the effect is short lived and in the long run disturbs sleep.
- Try to wake up and go to bed at a specific time so that the body’s biological clock sets a timetable for itself. This will regularise sleeping habit.
- Try to relax before bedtime by doing deep breathing exercises, or chanting (praying) etc
- Reading a book to fall asleep is better than sleeping off before a noisy vibrant TV.

Parvathy R Krishnan

The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at http://premadiet.blogspot.in/

More by this author:

Dieting tips for those at work
How to eat rice and lose weight

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