It seems insomnia is well on its way to becoming a modern epidemic.

The prime suspects in this epidemic are stress and working too much overtime. And worryingly it seems long term sleep loss can cause serious health issues, including declining immune function.

What’s just being discovered now though is that diabetics may be particularly predisposed towards sleep problems, and it’s their blood sugar levels that may be the cause of it all.

Sugar a Sleep Killer

Can something as simple and commonplace a`s sugar really be a sleep killer?

When blood sugar levels get too high, one of the ways the body deals with this is eliminating it via the kidneys and urination.

The result for diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar levels is often frequent late-night toilet trips, leading to anything from mild sleep disturbance to full-blown insomnia.

Poor Sleep a Diabetes Risk Factor

Not only does diabetes increase the risk of insomnia, but there’s also new evidence to suggest that poor sleep may actually increase the risk of diabetes.

Basically, in some cases the body’s response to insomnia can be similar to insulin resistance, a diabetes pre-cursor. In this condition the body’s failure to effectively utilise the hormone results in problematically high blood sugar levels. This can damage the eyes, nerves, kidneys and even heart.

Lack of good sleep is linked with being overweight as well, also a risk factor for diabetes. And sleep Apnea is an other condition associated with both diabetes and excess body weight.

So: how much sleep do you need, exactly? Estimates vary. 7-8 hours is the most common recommendation, though some sleep specialists instead propose splitting your night into two sessions of four hours each. This practice has been dubbed the segmented sleep regime.

Confused? Great basic tips for practicing good ‘sleep hygiene’ can be found here.

What do you think? Is poor sleep as big a problem as people seem to think it is? Could something as simple as sugar be such a major contributor to diabetes?