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Can Sleep Deprivation Lead You Down The Diabetes Path?

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Lack of sleep increases risk of disorders like obesity, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes. It makes the body insulin-resistant, requiring more insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. It may alter the body's stress-control center and hormonal balance, affecting glucose regulation. Obesity increases risk of blood sugar malfunction by making it harder for cells to utilize insulin.

If depriving yourself of much needed sleep on a regular basis has become your way of life, it is time you reconsider your lifestyle and daily sleep habits. Sleep is important for the effective working of both your physical and emotional well-being. Not only can sleep deprivation make you feel fatigued, sluggish and irritable, poor sleep could have a significant bearing on metabolic disorders such as obesity, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.

Sleep Deprivation And Diabetes – The Link

Sleep loss and poor sleep quality may increase the risk of diabetes. Sleep deprivation may increase the chances of suffering from diabetes.

Sleep reduction lowers Insulin Sensitivity.

Diabetes arises when the body is unable to break down blood sugar (glucose), leaving your cells starved for energy. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body appears to require more insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitive the body is to the effects of insulin.

People with low insulin sensitivity, also referred to as insulin resistance, will require larger amounts of insulin either from their own pancreas or from injections, in order to keep blood glucose stable.

Eventually, sleeplessness causes insulin-producing cells to stop working properly, elevating glucose levels and leaving you wide open to diabetes. According to studies, sleep restriction (5 h/night) for 1 week significantly reduces insulin sensitivity.1

Lack of sleep causes imbalances in certain Hormones.

Sleep deprivation may alter the body’s stress-control center (the sympathetic nervous system) and hormonal balances, all of which affects glucose regulation. According to studies, short sleep time (4 hours per night or less) results in lower Leptin levels and higher Ghrelin levels in the blood plasma.

Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite, while leptin is an important hormone that regulates blood sugar in your body besides decreasing appetite. Leptin also exerts a potent anti-diabetic action.

Sleep deprivation causes Obesity.

A growing body of research suggests that there’s a link between how much people sleep and how much they weigh. One thing that greatly increases your chances of a blood-sugar malfunction is being overweight. Excess fat makes it harder for cells to properly use insulin, a hormone that helps keep glucose levels normal.2

Note: Sleep scarcity poses the greatest danger to those who are already predisposed to diabetes, such as anyone who’s overweight or has a family history of the disease.

Cure Sleep Deprivation With Ayurveda

Sleep is considered to be an important factor in maintaining health and balance in the body. When we sleep, the body is able to repair and heal itself. According to Ayurveda, sleep deprivation may be caused due to the imbalances in the various doshas.

Imbalances in Vata

Vata sleep imbalance occurs when the coordination between dhi, dhriti and smriti (learning, retention and recall) becomes weak. This can lead to difficulties in falling asleep or your sleep will be so light and restless that you’ll wake up tired.3

Ways to Combat Vata Sleep Imbalance

  • Avoid too much stimulation at night.
  • Drink warm slumber tea before bed. This mixture of spices and herbs is especially designed to help calm the mind and emotions.
  • Let go of your problems especially before bedtime.
  • Eat foods that balance Vata during the day.
  • Go to bed well before 10:00 p.m.This allows you to use the sleepy, duller Kapha time of night to help you fall asleep.

Imbalances in Pitta

A Pitta sleep disorder occurs when you have no problem falling asleep, but you wake up in the wee hours of the morning and cannot go back to sleep for several hours.

How To Combat a Pitta Sleep Imbalance

  • Take deep rest.
  • Keep your bedroom cool while sleeping.
  • Use Cooling Pitta Aroma Oil when you go to bed. Therapeutic oils are designed to pacify Pitta dosha.
  • Eat more sweet, juicy fruits during the day
  • Eat Pitta-pacifying foods. This diet involves eating more sweet, bitter and astringent foods.
  • Other Pitta-pacifying lifestyle choices include eating three meals a day, at the same time every day, with the largest meal at noon. Skipping or delaying meals can throw Pitta out of balance.
  • Avoid getting overheated when you exercise, and avoid exercising in the sun.

Imbalances in Kapha Dosha

A Kapha-related sleep disorder occurs when a person sleeps long and deeply, but feels exhausted when he or she wakes up.

Ways to Combat a Kapha Sleep Imbalance

  • Rise before 6:00 a.m. Sleeping past dawn, into the Kapha time of the morning (6:00-10:00 a.m.) causes ama to accumulate in the various channels in the body and creates a dull, tired feeling when you awaken.
  • Decrease coffee consumption.
  • Eat a Kapha-pacifying diet.
  • Breathe deeply and easily while exercising and throughout the day.
  • Drink Kapha Tea. This will reinforce the body’s efforts to remove ama and invigorate the whole system.4

References   [ + ]

1.Buxton, O. M., M. Pavlova, et al. (2010). “Sleep Restriction for One Week Reduces Insulin Sensitivity in Healthy Men.” Diabetes
2.Patel SR, Hu FB. Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity(Silver Spring). 2008; 16:643-53.
3.3 Things to Know About your Mind, Everyday Ayurveda, March 24, 2014.
4. Sebastian Pole, Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice (London: Churchill Livingston, 2006), 32.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.