Good Night, Sleep Tight

You probably know the saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man [or woman] healthy, wealthy and wise.” It is still good advice. But if you are like many people, you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep two or more nights a week. At least 40 million Americans suffer from long-term sleep disorders and another 20 million have trouble sleeping at one time or another. Although sleep problems may seem minor when compared with diabetes or other chronic diseases, they cost this country about $16 million every year. When you do not get enough sleep, it affects your quality of life by keeping you from doing your best work, causing you to feel irritable and withdrawn. It can also affect your health. To learn more, read the answers to the following questions:


A. Sleep is just as important for your health as food and water. Although you may not recall your dreams, everyone dreams every night. Even though your body is at rest, your brain is very active. This activity helps prepare you to be alert and at your best the next day.


A. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to be at their best, but every one of us is a little different. The amount of sleep you need is set by your genes. You can teach your body to get by on less sleep, but your need for a certain amount of sleep will not change. To find out how much sleep you need, go to bed without setting the alarm. The length of time you sleep until you wake up on your own will give you an idea of how much sleep is right for you. When you don’t get enough sleep, you build up a” sleep debt.” The only way to pay back that debt is by getting more sleep.


A. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep adds to insulin resistance, a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep is also linked to obesity, depression, high blood pressure and heart disease—all common among people with diabetes. In addition, it is hard to do all you need to do to live well with diabetes when you are worn out.


A. High and low blood glucose levels can interrupt your sleep. When your blood glucose is too high, you may have to get up several times every night to go to the bathroom. When your blood glucose is too low, you may have nightmares or wake up from the symptoms of a low blood glucose level. Pain from neuropathy also can keep you awake at night.


A. The amount of sleep you need is the same throughout your entire adult life. Older adults often wake up more during the night, so they sleep less, but the need for sleep is the same. As people get older and sleep less at night, they tend to sleep more during the day. Having trouble sleeping is not a normal part of getting older. If health problems, pain, stress or other issues are keeping you awake, talk with your health care provider about treatments that can help.


A. Most people think that insomnia is when you have a hard time falling asleep. It is also when you cannot stay asleep, waking up before the alarm, as well as when you cannot go back to sleep or feel very sleepy during the day. Stress is the most common cause of insomnia. However, experts have found more than 70 different sleep disorders. Different disorders have different causes. For example, sleep apnea, when breathing stops several times during the night, happens because the airway is blocked during sleep. Narcolepsy, severe daytime sleepiness and sudden sleep attacks, is most likely genetic. No one really knows what causes restless leg syndrome, in which strange feelings in the legs are relieved by moving them. Menopause is another cause of insomnia. Beginning with perimenopause and moving right through menopause, women make less estrogen and progesterone, a hormone that promotes sleep. Changing hormones and hot flashes also can disrupt your sleep.


A. The first thing to do is keep track of your sleep habits and times you have trouble falling or staying asleep. Write down what you think caused your problem. Then, after one week, look at your diary. Does anything stand out? Be sure to look at your blood glucose levels during this time, as well. Is there a pattern of blood glucose readings that seem to match your lack of sleep? Keeping your blood glucose level in your target range may help you sleep longer and more soundly. If your sleep problem does not get better, talk with your health care provider. There are treatments that can help. So good night, sleep tight and have pleasant dreams.

  • Register For This Twitter Chat Series

    When you register, we will send you timely reminders about upcoming Twitter chats via email.

    Simply enter your email address below and click on the "Register Me" button.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN—an award-winning RD, certified diabetes educator, and past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, which received the Favorably Reviewed designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes.

Dr. Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, the best-selling author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! and leading health and weight loss expert, is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.” She has made it her mission to educate the public on the toxic effects of certain foods and lifestyle choices and how they create inflammation in the body. She is a leading authority on inflammation and its role in weight loss, preventing disease and optimizing health.

Rebecca Bitzer – MS, RD/LD, CEDRD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian, writer, speaker, blogger, and REBEL Dietitian business owner. Rebecca and her team of six Registered Dietitians have counseled thousands of clients struggling with diabetes for over twenty-five years. They work closely with each other along with internists, endocrinologists, therapists, and families.

Maureen Sullivan – RN, CDE has worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, most of them in emergency and trauma services. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and the former manager of a hospital stroke program. Maureen’s wealth of knowledge, passion for nursing and education, and ability to engage people makes her an excellent teacher and a captivating lecturer. Recently, Maureen has been concentrating on writing, speaking and teaching, as well as working on her award-winning weekly podcast, “The Health and Humor Show.”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is a nutrition communications specialist, registered dietitian in private practice, social media consultant, speaker, spokesperson and corporate consultant. She is currently the owner of Nutrition Starring YOU, LLC and Lauren strongly believes that we should “Think Healthy, not Skinny”, and “EveryBODY is unique, your diet should be too”. Lauren was co-host of the Family Food Experts Kitchen radio show, available for listening on iHeart Radio and iTunes. Also known as one of the “NutritionBabes”, Lauren co-founded, a popular Health and Wellness website in 2009. was voted one of Healthline’s Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE is a clinical health psychologist and the director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH). In addition to treating patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heyman provides training for health care providers on how to identify and address the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes in their patients. He also works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help them understand these issues and incorporate this information into their sales, marketing, and patient education materials. He is particularly interested in empirically supported behavioral interventions that promote behavior change and improve physical and mental health in people with diabetes.

Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and author with an expertise in nutrition communications and curriculum development. She is the co-author of “Diet Therapy in Advanced Practice Nursing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and University of San Diego’s graduate schools of nursing.

Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE (aka “Dr. Bev”) is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, author and speaker. She specializes treating the emotional issues of people with diabetes. In her private practice, she provides individual, family and/or group therapy utilizing a cognitive behavior therapy orientation, combined with a spiritual approach. Her goal is to empower her patients to manage their diabetes.

Dr. Bev is the author of two self-help diabetes books. She has written numerous articles which are published in print and online – always focused on diabetes from the emotional perspective. She also speaks to audiences of people living with diabetes, as well as, to audiences of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators. Dr. Bev, herself, has been living successfully with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years.

In August 2016, Dr. Bev was honored to receive the “CDE Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from her Metropolitan NY Association of Diabetes Educators.

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is an internationally recognized nutrition and diabetes expert with more than two decades experience. Through writing, speaking and one-on-one coaching, Jill empowers people to grab control of their health. She has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is known for her practical approach and caring attitude. Her no-nonsense strategies to eating well include foods that both taste good and are good for you.

Marlene Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) is a nationally recognized nutritionist, popular TV personality and New York Times bestselling author. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science. She is a registered dietitian and one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Marlene has taught professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation the principles of healthy cooking and eating. She has been adjunct Nutrition professor and cooking instructor for Columbus State College and the Columbus State Culinary Academy, and she is a nationally recognized expert in weight loss, diabetes, child and adolescent nutrition, and sugar substitutes.

Marlene has sold over one million cookbooks, and is a regular guest on QVC.

Barbara Ruhs – MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Neighborhood Nutrition LLC, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to help food companies and supermarkets improve consumer health & wellness. She’s a former supermarket dietitian and has run a successful business for 17 years. A leader in the field of nutrition, her mission is to help people by impacting the way food is produced, marketed and sold. She’s a strong advocate for supermarket dietitians and believes the retail food industry has the greatest potential to impact public health.

Cheryl Orlansky has over 25 years of experience in health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her first career as a registered dental hygienist led her towards a path of wellness and nutrition! Her expertise is in diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular disease for individuals and groups. She works in a large private practice including endocrinology, internal medicine, rheumatology, neurology and sleep medicine. She is an award winning dietitian with current leadership positions in state and local dietetics organizations.

She has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets for WebMD, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has partnered with V-103 Radio to lead supermarket tours as part of a community outreach during National Nutrition Month.

Cheryl helps her clients reach balance through lifestyle choices: cooking and eating, activity and purpose in life.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and classically-trained chef. With a passion for helping people (including her father) with diabetes, she’s author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the award-winning The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, both published by the American Diabetes Association. Jackie is also author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes and Big Green Cookbook. Her next book, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook—2nd Edition, was published in 2015.

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet. She holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is also a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

OmnichannelHealth Media, publisher of, does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.