3 Diabetes-Friendly Tips for Better Sleep

Sometimes warm milk just doesn’t cut it for men and women with diabetes.


Diabetes and insomnia often go hand in hand. Sometimes, the reason is physical: your feet might hurt, experience restless legs, or struggle keeping your blood sugar within normal bounds. Sometimes, the reason is psychological: you worry about your blood sugar dipping dangerously low during the night, about your prognosis, or you struggle with depression following diagnosis.

Regardless of the cause, sleeplessness is frequently associated with diabetes. Fortunately, this does not have to be the case. Using small, simple strategies, you can get a deeper, fuller night’s rest with your diabetes.

#1. Eat a Snack Before Bed

Both to ease your anxiety and to keep your blood sugar stable, eat a small snack before bed, tailoring it to your blood sugar numbers at the time. Some nights, this might mean a sliver of dark chocolate, while other nights, you might be better off with a strip of healthy, grass-fed beef jerky.

If you aren’t sure what to eat before bed, talk to your doctor or nutritionist; you’re better off formulating a plan to fit your unique chemistry and needs rather than taking a shot in the dark and waking up with skyrocketing blood sugar levels.

#2. Practice Relaxation

If you have restless legs or racing thoughts, practice relaxation before your head hits the pillow. If you have circulation issues, give yourself a gentle leg massage using coconut or sesame oil. If you struggle with anxiety, complete a 5-minute meditation practice or 10 minutes of yoga. If you don’t have mental or physical issues, but struggle to drift to sleep, consider old remedies such as chamomile tea or warm milk and molasses.

Relaxation will signal your body that it is time to lie down and rest, while activity will tell your body to stay awake and alert. Avoid exercising within 1-2 hours of bed, as your body may not receive the signal that it is time to sleep.

#3. Avoid Liquids and Empty Your Bladder

Because diabetes can cause excessive urination, you’ll want to avoid drinking liquids of any kind directly before bed. Your final drink should be an hour or so before bed. Immediately before crawling into bed, empty your bladder to further prevent the likelihood of waking in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

Although diabetes and sleep troubles are frequently linked, you can employ simple strategies to make your night’s sleep deeper, more robust, and more restful.


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Diabetes UK. Accessed 6/617.
Web MD. Accessed 6/6/17.