Sleep and Diabetes

A good night's sleep is important for diabetes and overall health. Adequate sleep can help regulate appetite, mood, hormones, energy, and blood sugars. People with diabetes are also more likely to have conditions that impact sleep, such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and peripheral neuropathy.

A study found that 50% of people with type 2 diabetes has sleep problems due to fluctuating blood sugar levels. Studies also show that sleep problems can increase the risk of insulin resistance and prediabetes.

Learn about how diabetes and sleep are connected.

Woman sleeping in bed at home
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Does Diabetes Affect Your Sleep?

Diabetes can affect your sleep in a variety of ways. If your blood sugar level is high, you may use the restroom more in the middle of the night. These sleep disruptions can affect your sleep quality and result in daytime fatigue.

High blood sugar may cause headaches, increased thirst, and hunger, which can interfere with falling asleep. Insufficient sleep is related to insulin resistance, trouble with weight loss, increased blood pressure, a reduced immune system, and an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

Sleep Issues Associated with Diabetes

There are some sleep disorders associated with diabetes. These include:

  • Insomnia: Research suggests that 39% of people with type 2 diabetes have trouble sleeping.
  • Peripheral neuropathy: When neuropathy (nerve damage in the feet, legs, arms, and hands) becomes severe or has gone on many years without being detected or treated, the pain can affect sleep. It is the most common type of neuropathy found in people with diabetes.
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS): RLS is an urge to move your legs during rest. It is more prevalent in people with diabetes than people without diabetes. The exact relationship between diabetes and RLS needs to be examined further.
  • Sleep apnea: If diabetes and sleep apnea are not well-controlled, symptoms of each condition can worsen.

Treatments of Diabetes Introduced Sleep Issues

Treatments for sleep problems will depend on the underlying cause. If high blood sugar is to blame, lifestyle changes to improve glycemic control may be the first step to improving sleep. Some steps for improving sleep include:

  • Taking medications properly
  • Eating a nutritious diet
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol
  • Correcting vitamin deficiencies
  • Exercising regularly
  • Practicing good sleep habits

People with diabetes and sleep apnea may need a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), or other treatments.

Correction of Vitamin Deficiencies and Natural Remedies

People with a vitamin B12 deficiency may experience symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, which can impact sleep. Folate (vitamin B9) and iron deficiency have been linked to restless legs syndrome. If symptoms are affecting your sleep, correcting a known deficiency may help.

Additional natural remedies people use for sleep include:

More research is needed on natural remedies and how they impact sleep. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting any herb or supplement. Your provider can let you know if there are any contraindications (reasons not to use it) with your prescribed medicines and that it is safe to use.

Melatonin and Diabetes

Melatonin has also been shown to lower glucose and blood pressure. If you have diabetes and are taking medications to lower your blood sugar or blood pressure, you should discuss the safety of use with your healthcare provider before starting.

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

Not sleeping enough can impact your day-to-day functioning, leaving you feeling tired and irritable. If you suspect your diabetes is to blame for your sleep issues, managing your blood sugar will be necessary. Your healthcare provider will review your blood sugar level and recommend interventions to get it into range.

You should also seek medical advice if your sleep issues are chronic (long term). Chronic difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up early, even though you had adequate opportunity to sleep at least three times a week for one month, may indicate that you are experiencing insomnia. A medical professional should evaluate this type of sleep problem.

Sleep Study Test

Your healthcare provider may recommend a sleep study test to help determine if your sleep issues are caused by sleep apnea.


Diabetes and sleep-related issues are linked. If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is not well controlled, your sleep can be affected. Poor sleep quality can increase your risk for diabetes. Healthy sleep is important for overall health, energy, mood, and diabetes. Contact your healthcare provider if you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling extremely tired during the day.

A Word From Verywell

Sleep problems and diabetes can impact your quality of life. A sleep routine can improve diabetes control and reduce the risk of other conditions and diseases. Options for improving your sleep include lifestyle changes, better sleep habits, underlying conditions, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there a connection between sleep apnea and diabetes?

    Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) increases the risk and severity of type 2 diabetes. OSA and diabetes are both linked to obesity. In addition, type 2 diabetes has been shown to increase the likelihood of sleep-disordered breathing. There is limited data on the relationship between OSA and type 1 diabetes.

  • Can getting more sleep improve my diabetes?

    A few small studies suggest that getting more sleep may help improve insulin resistance and regulate hunger, resulting in weight loss. Losing weight also can positively impact diabetes. Some studies have shown that people who sleep seven or eight hours a night are less likely to develop diabetes. More research is needed on sleep and glycemic control.

  • Can a lack of sleep raise blood pressure?

    Yes, short sleep duration or poor sleep quality has been associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis (a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries).

15 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The impact of poor sleep on type 2 diabetes.

  3. Sleep foundation. Lack of sleep and diabetes.

  4. Center for Disease Control. Sleep for a good cause.

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  6. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Peripheral neuropathy.

  7. Liu X, Xu Y, An M, Zeng Q. The risk factors for diabetic peripheral neuropathy: A meta-analysisPLoS One. 2019;14(2):e0212574. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0212574

  8. Innes KE, Selfe TK, and Agarwal P. Restless legs syndrome and conditions associated with metabolic dysregulation, sympathoadrenal dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease risk: a systematic reviewSleep Medicine Reviews. 2012;16(4)309-339. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2011.04.001

  9. Ning P, et. al. Prevalence of restless legs syndrome in people with diabetes mellitus: A pooling analysis of observational studies. The Lancet. 2022; 46: 101357. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101357

  10. Klingelhoefer L, Bhattacharya K, and Reichmann H. Restless legs syndromeClinical Medicine. 2016;16(4)379. doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.16-4-379

  11. Pourhanifeh MH, Hosseinzadeh A, Dehdashtian E, Hemati K, Mehrzadi S. Melatonin: new insights on its therapeutic properties in diabetic complicationsDiabetology & Metabolic Syndrome. 2020;12(1):30.

  12. Doumit J, Prasad B. Sleep apnea in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Spectr. 2016;29(1):14–19. doi:10.2337/diaspect.29.1.14

  13. National Institute of Health: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The impact of poor sleep on type 2 diabetes.

  14. American Heart Association. Sleep plays an important role in heart health.

By Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN
Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN, is a New York-based registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist.