The issue of sleep for individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and their caregivers has become a popular topic of discussion among researchers and clinicians. While people living with T1D have been discussing the quality and quantity of their sleep for years, new devices and alarms have brought attention to the topic. Individuals with diabetes often experience interrupted sleep due to high blood sugar levels, low blood sugar levels, and the need to check their blood sugar levels throughout the night.
Parents of children with T1D also experience disrupted sleep as they manage their child's blood sugar levels and worry about their child's health. Recent research has shown that sleep loss due to diabetes disruptions can amount to up to 10 hours per week, which can negatively impact cardiovascular and metabolic health.
Additionally, individuals with T1D who have sleep disruptions are less insulin sensitive and require more insulin the following day.
To improve sleep, individuals should ensure they do not have any underlying medical issues contributing to their sleep issues, talk to their healthcare provider about setting CGM alarms to a different setting at night, get into a routine, engage in regular physical activity, avoid caffeine, alcohol, or eating before bed, create a relaxing sleeping environment, and keep electronics out of the bedroom. Although T1D may interrupt sleep at times, getting regular sleep is important for long term health.