11 Jul 5 Soothing Bedtime Tricks to Lower Your Blood Sugar Overnight
You can now add healthy blood sugar levels to the long list of health benefits from a good night’s sleep.
Diabetes affects 29 million Americans with insulin resistance as one of the leading risk factors, a condition in which the body can’t use insulin effectively to regulate blood sugar levels. In fact, recent research suggests that not getting enough shuteye may do more than give you a bad case of bags under your eyes—it may contribute to insulin resistance. One plausible explanation may be that poor snoozers often experience sleep apnea, a disorder that interrupts a person’s breathing while they sleep, which has been linked to type 2 diabetes.
In a small study, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts found that people who slept for less than six hours each night for nearly a month had a 32 percent reduction in the amount of insulin released into the body after eating and higher glucose levels spanning a longer period of time, which rose to pre-diabetic levels for a few participants. Your body needs insulin to help absorb the excess glucose in your bloodstream. A reduction in your insulin response to sugar, could lead to diabetes one day.
To maintain a healthy balance of blood sugar levels, a routine dose of a good night’s sleep may just be the prescription your doctor ordered! For a peaceful night of endless Z’s, try these bedtime tricks guaranteed to help you fall asleep fast and give your health a boost for the better.
Don’t sleep in
Snoozing late on the weekend seems like an obvious way to catch up on your winks, but it may be throwing your body out of rhythm, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. If you tack on any additional hours to your sleep schedule, go to bed earlier and wake up at the usual time. But sleep doctors warn against going to bed too early, as that may also mess up your natural circadian rhythms. Try to stick to your new schedule, so that your body’s clock knows when to cue those warm, fuzzy feelings of sleepiness at night.
Reserve your bed for sleeping only
Your bed is supposed to be your sanctuary to relax and shut down after a long day. Keep the bills, work laptop, or anything else stressful out of your bedroom. You don’t want to associate your bed with stress or else you’ll start to get anxious about sleeping.
Leave your worries on paper
If you find yourself bombarded by worries at night, take a half hour before bed to record your concerns and jot down possible solutions. A clear mind is more likely to drift off than a mind muddled with stress. “Take some time in the evening to work through the day, make lists to do tomorrow and clear your mental desktop of the stuff that you still have to think about. Then go to bed,” Michael A. Grandner, PhD, a member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania tells HuffPost. Writing down your thoughts and planning out your day the night before won’t only help you sleep better, it’ll make you more productive the next day.
Get out of bed to do a relaxing activity
If you can’t sleep after 30 minutes, get out of bed and go to another dark, quiet room to engage in a relaxing activity for 15 to 20 minutes such as reading or listening to soothing music. This quick fix is what some sleep experts refer to as “sleep stimulus.” Lying in bed wide awake only gets you annoyed over your failed attempts to fall back asleep, which leads to an increase in stress hormones, heart rate, and general anxiety—the recipe for a sleepless night. By switching up your environment, you quell that “sleep pressure,” so you can fall back asleep faster.
Dim the lights
A brightly lit room isn’t going to put you in the mood for bed. The National Sleep Foundation recommends dimming your lights at least an hour before bed. A darkened room tells your brain it’s time to go into sleep mode soon. Better yet, replace your window treatments with room darkening shades or curtains to shut out any outside light, such as streetlights, all night long or wear an eye mask to bed.