Other lifestyle factors
There are other lifestyle factors which can impact your diabetes management.
It’s common knowledge that smoking is harmful to your health in so many different ways. Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths and one in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.
A clear link has been established between smoking and raised blood glucose levels. Nicotine is one of the many chemicals that are found in cigarettes and is what makes smoking so addictive.
When you smoke, nicotine changes the chemical processes in the cells inside your body, so they do not respond to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance.
Not only does smoking increase your risk of developing diabetes but if you are already diagnosed, it increases your risk dramatically of developing the well-known complications of diabetes.
The sooner you stop smoking, the more time you give your body to heal itself. Research studies have shown that insulin becomes more effective at lowering your blood glucose levels after only 8 weeks of quitting smoking.
Stress, whether physical stress or mental stress, has been proven to affect your blood glucose levels, which for people with diabetes can make it much more difficult to manage.
While stress can affect diabetes control, both directly and indirectly, it can also be caused by various diabetic factors such as being diagnosed with diabetes, adjusting to a diabetes treatment regimen, or dealing with psychosocial pressures of the disease.
Sleep can affect your blood glucose levels and your blood glucose control can also affect your sleep, which results in trouble sleeping.
Difficulty getting a good night’s sleep could be a result of a number of reasons, from hypos at night, to high blood sugars, sleep apnea, being overweight or signs of neuropathy.
If you have blood glucose levels that are either too high or too low overnight, you may find yourself tired through the next day. Having no energy and being unable to sleep can both be linked to blood glucose control and getting them under control can be a key in re-establishing a healthy sleep pattern.
The following may help to promote better sleep:
- Keep your blood glucose under control
- Keep your room is cool and well ventilated
- Ensure your room is dark and free from noise – if this is not possible, you may benefit from a sleeping blindfold or earplugs
- Doing some physical activity during the day
- Stick to a regular bedtime
- Even if you’re tired during the day, try not to go for a nap as that will make it harder to get to sleep at night
- Stay off your phone, ipad or tablet. The blue light emitted by your cell phone screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle