It’s been a busy year for my team at Health Alliance, so I hope you’ve been enjoying Nicole’s Chasing Health series while I’ve been too busy to post!
When life gets busy and stress takes over, the first thing that always goes for me is sleep. I’ve never been very good at getting a lot of it, even though it’s one of my favorite things in the world, especially when stress sets in.
Unfortunately, that’s not doing my health any favors:
Start a bedtime routine. I used to have one, but that’s all but disappeared the last 6 months. I need to start again, and I’m going to try adding drinking something warm (and decaffeinated) to that schedule.
Listen to soothing music. Normally, I leave something playing on Netflix as I fall asleep, but soothing music or a sound machine, without the light, would be a much better idea. Maybe I can make use of Adele’s new album or apps like Rain, Rain, which makes thunderstorm noises.
Cut back on electronics. This and making my bed a work-free zone are nearly impossible for me, but I do need to work on cutting back. Setting a curfew when I set down my phone or laptop, like at least a half hour before bed, could really help.
Make up for lost sleep. Adding an extra hour when I didn’t get enough sleep the night before could help me with my sleep debt.
Don’t toss and turn. I do this a lot, and if I can’t fall asleep for more than 20 minutes, I should try getting up and doing something relaxing (NOT work), like knitting or reading.
One thing I can tell you I won’t be trying off this list? Kicking my pet out of my bed.
While I know this must be a problem for some people, I don’t think it’s a problem for me. And I’m not alone. A new study finds that 41% of people think having their pet in the room helps them sleep better.
I know that I would worry about her if she wasn’t in my room. Plus, cuddling her is about the most relaxing activity in my life. In fact, that’s frequently how I fall asleep now. I mean, how can you resist that?
Over the last decade, the number of hours Americans sleep has fallen fast. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 72% of people sleep 7 hours or less, up 10% from 2001, which can have serious health effects. And getting enough sleep with diabetes is even more important.
“The public is less aware of the impact of insufficient amounts of sleep,” said Dr. Megan Ruiter, lead author of the National Sleep Foundation’s report. “Sleep is important—the body is stressed when it doesn’t get the right amount.”
Not only does sleep affect your body’s stress level, it also affects your blood glucose levels. A 2006 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found people who say they sleep poorly have higher A1cs.
Studies confirm sleep-deprived bodies make an average of 32% less insulin after a meal, leading to higher blood glucose.
Tips for Getting Sleep with Diabetes
Here are some helpful tips for a good night’s rest from Diabetes Forecast.
Set a schedule.
Go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. This can help your body establish a healthy sleep/wake cycle.
Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol.
These substances can disrupt sleep. It’s best to avoid them before bed.
Get in the mood.
A bedtime routine can help you shift from being awake to feeling sleepy. Take a bath or listen to peaceful music just before you turn the lights out.
Exercise earlier in the day.
Active people sleep better. Do your exercise in the morning or right after work for the best results.
Prep your bedroom.
Make sure it’s dark, quiet, relaxing, and at a cool (yet comfortable) temperature. Turn off (or silence) cell phones, TVs, and computers.
Don’t go to bed on a full or empty tank.
Eating a big meal just before bed or lying down with a growling stomach can make falling asleep tricky and can even wake you. If you’re going to eat a big evening meal, eat two hours before bed to give yourself enough time to digest.