If you have diabetes and sleep poorly, you may have sleep apnea, which can cause diabetes complications.
Diabetes can be related to untreated sleep apnea. Recent research indicates that individuals with obstructive sleep apnea are nine times more likely to have diabetes than those without obstructive sleep apnea. Diabetes and sleep disorders can severely impact your quality of life.
What’s the link between untreated sleep apnea and diabetes?
People with untreated sleep apnea experience a temporary airway collapse, which restricts the flow of air into the lungs. During an apnea, blood oxygen levels drop rapidly and you can wake up briefly and gasp for breath even though you may not remember doing so.
When this happens many times a night, these episodes can cause disrupted sleep and a feeling of not being rested. The physiologic stress that diabetes and sleep apnea cause may result in the release of cortisol by the adrenal glands. Increased levels of cortisol affect the body’s ability to properly metabolize glucose and release insulin. Other metabolic factors that are routinely coming to light in modern research also play a role.
Untreated sleep apnea can increase blood sugar and lower your body’s energy. Gaining control of sleep apnea can be good for managing your diabetes. Type 2 diabetics with obstructive sleep apnea who receive therapy may be able to improve their glucose and diabetes control.