The Sleep-Blood Sugar Connection

One of the more common patterns I see in clients who do not sleep well is lack of blood sugar control. Do you wake up in the middle of the night? Does your energy drop in the afternoon? Does your concentration falter between meals and you need to eat or drink something to keep going?  These are all signs of low blood sugar.  People with low blood sugar tend to have adrenal fatigue meaning their production of the stress hormone, cortisol, is suboptimal.  Cortisol is responsible for raising blood sugar levels when they go too low. However, in a person with low blood sugar tendencies, since cortisol is also low, the body will not be able to boost blood sugar up to a healthy level.  This can translate to sleep problems.

In a healthy person, when blood sugar drops too low while she is sleeping, the adrenal glands make cortisol to break down glycogen stored in the liver and muscles to release glucose into the bloodstream so the body can continue to sleep.  
If a person's cortisol production is low, the release of glycogen isn't triggered so blood sugar does not rise.  Instead, the adrenals make the flight-or-fight hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine. These cause a person to wake up in the middle of the night.  There are different herbs and minerals and therapeutic uses of food that help support the adrenals and stabilize blood sugar so that you may sleep better. This is just one pattern of blood sugar imbalance that shows up frequently. I will write about other patterns and how they relate to sleep in future articles.  For example, high blood sugar tendencies can make it difficult for one to go to bed at a reasonable time in the evening. People can also swing between low and high blood sugar causing a combination of issues in hormones, energy, metabolism, stress management, and sleep.  The dietary and supplement suggestions I make often result in weight loss, better brain and hormone health, and improved energy and sleep due to sound blood sugar control.