HOW TYPE 1 DIABETES CAN AFFECT YOUR SLEEP
Type 1 diabetes affects many parts of everyday life - not only during the day, but also at night, as diabetes can have a huge impact on the quality of a person's sleep. Not only do people living with type 1 diabetes often sleep less than persons without the condition, the sleep can also be of poorer quality and affected by more disturbances. This means that sleep often isn't sufficient which in turn has an impact on a person's daytime functioning.
One of the reason the sleep of someone living with type 1 diabetes is not only worse, but also shorter is the fact that we often wake up at night. Sometimes our blood sugar is so low that we have to get up and eat or drink something, stay awake for a while and wait until we've reached a normal blood sugar level again. This can last for several minutes or hours which can lead to problems with falling asleep again. High blood sugar at night can also cause you to go to the toilet several times and feel so thirsty that you have to drink some water.
A common sleeping disorder for people with type 1 diabetes is sleep apnea. This means that a person stops and starts breathing repeatedly whilst they sleep, which prevents them from falling into a deeper state of sleep. People with type 1 diabetes are also more likely to suffer from insomnia and narcolepsy.
For many people living with type one diabetes it is very rare to sleep through an entire night. The problem is that poor sleep quality can in turn also have impact on a person's blood sugar levels which means that a bad night is often followed by a bad day. This can end up in a vicious circle and be very exhausting, not only physically but also mentally.
Greta Ehlers is a type one diabetic with a passion for classical music and writing. She founded her blog and Instagram account gretastypeone to raise awareness about type one diabetes and everyday life with a chronic condition. Greta is currently studying a master's degree in Strategic Communication at Lund University, Sweden.
Farabi, Sarah S. (2016): Type 1 Diabetes and Sleep. Diabetes Spectrum Vol. 29(1). https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/1/10
Perez, Katia M. / Hamburger, Emily R. & Jaser, Sarah S. (2018): Sleep in Type 1 Diabetes: Implications for Glycemic Control and Diabetes Management. Current Diabetes Reports Vol. 18 (2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5842802/
The statement on the letterboard is from Kingman Strohl, MD, director of the Sleep Disorders Program at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.