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The Connection Between Diabetes, Depression, and Sleep

Nan Kuhlman Nan Kuhlman March 24, 2020
Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen

For many people, living with diabetes means more than watching out for physical complications like blindness, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and other issues. Often the continual stress of living with diabetes can result in depression.

“In fact, people with diabetes are twice as likely to have clinical depression as people without diabetes.”

 

In cases like these, where people have both diabetes and clinical depression, research has shown that poor sleep quality has an even more profound effect on a person’s quality of life. While getting better sleep may not cure depression or diabetes, it can be a crucial step to increasing overall quality of life. Some tips for getting better sleep are below.

 

Keep A Schedule

 

Our bodies work on a rhythm throughout the day, getting more awake at certain times and more tired at others. If you are able to keep to a regular schedule of when you wake up and when you go to sleep each day, your body will know when it’s time to get up in the morning and when it’s time to go to sleep at night. If this schedule gets frequently disrupted, it can often be difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Most people are familiar with this disruption when they have to re-adjust to an early morning schedule after a weekend out, when they experience jet lag after traveling across time zones, or after daylight savings time.

 

Exercise

 

A study by the Sleep Foundation found that people who did a vigorous workout during the day reported the best sleep. Getting in a good workout is especially important for people with diabetes, as it can lower weight and reduce complications as well. Exercise has also been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, making it especially effective for people who are managing diabetes, depression, and poor sleep quality. If possible, get in a few good minutes of cardio or resistance earlier in the day, or try out a HITT workout. But, be careful about exercising too close to bedtime, as sometimes that can keep you awake for longer.

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Avoid Screens Close To Bedtime

 

If you use a computer or phone too close to bedtime, the blue light affects how well you sleep. Phones and computers also tend to make people more alert, especially if you’re checking email, using social media, or doing any other active interactions. Try to put down the phone and read a book, meditate, or do another relaxing activity. If you can’t quite get away from the computer, try using a program like flux to tint your screen red.

Doctor Profile

Nan Kuhlman

Author

Nan Kuhlman has been a freelance writer for over two decades with her most recent publications appearing in the Anastamos Interdisciplinary Journal, Christianity Without Religion, and on the parenting website Motherly.com. She also is a contributing writer for Grace Communion International’s denominational publications and videos.

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