A Ravalli Republic report explores the connection between sleep apnea, sleep disturbances, and type 2 diabetes.

Understanding the connection between sleep apnea and diabetes may help both individuals and society at large stay healthier, both when it comes to healthy sleep and when it comes to healthy blood sugar regulation. Ultimately, successfully treating and controlling your sleep apnea may help control your diabetes, while successfully treating and controlling your diabetes may help control your sleep apnea.

Disturbed sleep and blood sugar levels

The duration of your nightly sleep and the quality of your sleep are two important aspects of regulating your blood sugar and preventing the progression of diabetes. Sleep apnea causes sufferers to stop breathing at night – sometimes dozens of times per hour. This constant struggle for air makes it impossible to experience healthy sleep cycles and can trigger hormones that can cause insulin resistance.

In addition, people who are not well rested may eat more in response to their fatigue and in hopes of restoring their energy. Those who don’t get enough sleep are also often too tired to regularly exercise, a habit that helps control blood sugar and slow the progression of diabetes. Finally, the chronically tired may make poor food decisions because they are too fatigued to shop and prepare healthy meals. For example, a person exhausted from a night of poor sleep may opt for fast food over preparing a balanced meal of unprocessed foods at home.

All in all, researchers have found that those with severe sleep apnea have a 30 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while those with moderate sleep apnea have a 23 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While the reasons for this correlation are not totally clear, it is likely due to several different factors.

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