The Link Between a Lack of Sleep and Type 2 Diabetes

The Link Between a Lack of Sleep and Type 2 Diabetes

While type 2 diabetes is usually associated with weight, the kinds of foods you eat, and genetics, there’s also a link between sleep deprivation and developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is when there is too much glucose, or sugar, in the blood. These levels of glucose are controlled by insulin, but it has been discovered that when you are sleep deprived, your body releases less insulin. On top of this, other hormones can get thrown out of whack as well. Stress hormones, like cortisol, are released to keep you awake but these hormones reduce the effectiveness of the insulin. Additionally, a lack of sleep can cause a person to crave sugary foods or carbohydrates, and can even increase appetite. Constant overeating of sugary foods can lead to obesity, which is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Obesity can also lead you to feeling run down and tired all the time, lessening the likelihood that you will exercise, which is also a major tool in combating blood sugar levels and controlling your weight. It is most important to fall, and stay, in a “deep” sleep. This restorative level of sleep is vital for maintaining blood sugar levels and proper insulin levels.

Key Points:

  • 1Sleep deprivation can affect your body’s hormonal levels, and that can place you at greater risk for various medical issues; including diabetes.
  • 2Stress hormones in particular play a role in diabetes risk; cortisol and other physical affects of stress affect how effective insulin is.
  • 3Minimizing sleep deprivation induced risks are fairly simple; just get some more sleep on a regular basis, so your health improves.


In addition, getting too little sleep can increase your appetite and reduce your level of satiety, causing you to crave carbohydrates and sugary foods, in particular. Over time, indulging in these cravings or overeating, in general, can wreak havoc on your insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as your body weight.
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