8 Ways To Better Sleep
The editorial team recently asked the type 2 diabetes community what tips we have for sleeping better at night. Years ago my sleep hygiene was not good. I’d lay down, close my eyes, shortly after open them and stare at the ceiling. I’d be thinking about school, work or interactions with folks that day or…(fill in the blank). I never seemed to be able to let go of the day. Nothing worked. I was always awake when the rest of the world was sleeping. I have read many articles about restorative sleep but when you live with diabetes, sleep can be very elusive. I’m fortunate in that I don’t have to deal with diabetes complications. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to try to sleep with those.
Pay attention to when you're tired
- Go to bed when sleepy. Don’t try to stay up until the ‘adult’ bedtime of 11 pm. If I miss that sleep cue, no sleep for quite a while.
Use electronics on low light
- Put iPad on low light, 7 pm to 7 am. I catch up on reading and emails in the evening. iPads have really good lighting, almost too good. Turning down the brightness setting is a huge help in slowing my brain down.
- E-reader on low light too. I love to squeeze in that little bit more of whatever current book I’m reading before bed. When I have to blink a few times to see the page, it’s time to turn out the light.
Avoid late-day caffeine and alcohol
- No coffee after dinner. Now that I have a new coffee maker that will make me a healthy, no calorie, no carb iced latte, I really have to avoid this!
- I can have tea but one cup only. My favourite black tea does not keep me up at night. More than one cup and I’m up bathrooming which disrupts my sleep.
- Avoid alcohol (close to bedtime). Weekends are when I have my glass of red. I seem to be able to have wine with dinner, my last meal of the day, sipping the balance after dinner. Having my first glass at 9 pm...nope, interrupts my sleep. I get to sleep. I don’t stay asleep.
Pay attention and get into bed when tired
- Avoid tv shows/Netflix that will make me think. I avoid starting to watch Netflix movies at 10 pm. I get engrossed in the movie and miss my sleep cues.
- Don’t lay down on the couch. If I lay down in the evening, I’m gone. The couch does not give restorative sleep. My bed does. My husband has been pretty helpful at making sure I don’t stay there long. He sends me to bed. (He has told me I bark at him when he wakes me up, but at least I don’t bite! LOL!)
Even with all of these strategies, I still don’t always sleep well which can be attributed to my stage of life, work, young adult ‘kids,’ elderly parents, diabetes and whatever the heck else is going on in my life. At least I feel like I can minimize some of the other things in my life to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?