Woman lying in bed awake, alarm clock

Are You Getting Enough Sleep? You Could be at Risk for Type 2

In the past it was thought that Type 2 was caused by being overweight. Of late, researchers have realized there are actually many other factors that go into Type 2 diabetes.

We already know that diabetes and sleep disorders are related. Lack of sleep can be a big factor in developing Type 2, as it sets off your hormone levels and gets your body out of whack. Sleep deprivation makes your body require more insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. After a while, insulin-producing cells can stop working, leaving you at high risk for diabetes.

Three consecutive nights of not getting enough sleep can up your risk as much as gaining 20 to 30 pounds, according to a study at the University of Chicago in 2007.

Lack of sleep can also cause you to be more hungry for unhealthy foods and to eat more.

Americans on average sleep an hour less than we did in 1960, from 8 hours to 7 hours, according to the American Cancer Society and the National Sleep Foundation.

People should sleep from 7 ½ to 9 hours at night. Experiment to find your own ideal amount of sleep.

Steps to better sleep

Things that can help you sleep better are:

  • Do a 30-minute workout 3 times a week, preferably in the morning
  • Move your bedtime forward a bit each night
  • Take naps
  • Eat fruits and healthy snacks
  • Turn off the TV and computer 30 minutes before bed
  • Keep your room dark
  • If you can’t sleep, get up and do something like read or knit

Everyone should be checked for glucose levels after age 45. If you are experiencing fatigue, increased hunger or thirst, frequent urination, tingling in your feet, blurred vision, or slow-healing infections, talk to your doctor.