Tossing and turning, a restless mind, frequent bathroom breaks. Everyone knows a poor night’s sleep is no fun. For people with diabetes, these rough nights may happen more frequently then they should. Here are six tips for improving sleep.

1. Check your blood sugar. Not only can nighttime lows cause sleeplessness, but they can also be dangerous. Check your sugar before you hit the hay. If your sugar levels are low, a small bedtime snack may help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer. To avoid nighttime lows, try foods that are low in fat and contain between 15 and 30 grams of carbohydrates. A piece of toast or an apple are nutritious and satisfying options. On the flip side, a high sugar can cause you to make more frequent trips to the bathroom, which can interrupt sleep. Going for a short walk after dinner or lifting some light weights can help bring your sugar to a normal level if it is high.

2. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Tummy sleepers beware: Spending the night face-down can put unnecessary pressure on your spine and joints. Sleeping on your stomach can also make it more difficult to breathe throughout the night. For optimal circulation and cushion for your body, WebMD recommends rolling over to your side or back. NOTE: Waking up frequently due to shortness of breath is a sign of a serious, but treatable, condition called sleep apnea. If you feel tired frequently or have difficulty sleeping most nights, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your concerns. 

3. Go before bed. If you have high sugar, trips to the bathroom may become more frequent than you’d like. This is because your kidneys are working on overdrive to push the extra sugar out of your body. To avoid those annoying 3 a.m. restroom runs, use the bathroom right before you go to bed. 

4. Get your 8 hours. Do you need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning? If so, that likely means you’re sleep deprived. According to WebMD, more than 40 percent of the world’s population isn’t getting enough shut-eye. Sleep deprivation can cause tiredness, irritability, and low productivity. However, there are a few more serious consequences as well. Not getting enough sleep can lead to impaired glucose tolerance and the overproduction of ghrelin, a hormone that can stimulate your appetite and cause unhealthy food cravings. To keep your body in top condition, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get at least 7-9 hours each night. 

5. Burn some calories. Not only can a good workout help control your sugar levels, but it can also lead to a better night’s sleep. Just 30 minutes, five days a week can get your heart pumping and muscles moving enough for you to feel tired at the end of the day. Regular exercise is also great for reducing stress levels?–no more restless minds or internal to-do lists made at midnight! For a heart-pumpin’ workout, try one of these six exercises. You don’t even need a gym! It is important to work out earlier in the day rather than before bedtime. Endorphins are high right after working out, which can keep you awake. Make sure to give your body at least 1-2 hours to wind down after a workout before crawling into bed.

6. Begin a bedtime routine. It can be nearly impossible for your body to relax after a thrilling movie or an exciting night out with friends. Instead of crawling into bed right after a long day, take some time to settle down. Dim the lights, put on soft music, read a book, or even take a warm shower. A routine “quiet time” before bed will let your body know it’s time to slow down and relax. What helps you fall asleep when the going gets tough? Tell us in the comments below! 


Sleep is essential for everyone. Having diabetes can pose some challenges to getting a full night of sleep; however, there are various things you can do in order to increase your chances of a sound slumber. 

Disclaimer Statement: This is for educational purposes only and not intended as medical advice. For individual medical advice, contact your healthcare practitioner.