Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and feel so wide awake that you could go clean the kitchen? Or perhaps you just lie awake watching the clock? Waking up in the middle of the night feeling wide awake can be indicative of blood sugar issues and can make it hard to sleep through the night. Other issues make is it challenging to fall asleep.
Blood Sugar and Sleep
As you may know, the body requires a steady stream of blood sugar to keep the body functioning. If blood glucose levels drop too low during the night, the body releases the adrenal stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol as an emergency blood-sugar-raising tactic which wakes you up and makes you feel wide awake. This surge of stress hormones spurs the liver to convert its stores of glycogen into glucose, raising blood glucose levels.
This pattern of the body to overreacting to nighttime low blood sugar is also known as the “rebound” effect or the Somogyi effect, named after researcher who first described it. Low blood sugar levels at night is also known as Nocturnal Hypoglycemia.
How Blood Sugar Fluctuates During Sleep
While you sleep, your hormone insulin transports glucose from your blood into your cells. Blood sugar levels occasionally surge during the night, requiring your muscle, fat, and liver cells to respond to insulin signals and absorb the glucose from the blood. If you suffer from insulin resistance, this could trigger blood sugar levels to rise higher and wake you up.
Blood Sugar and Sleep
The connection between sleep and blood sugar issues goes beyond the obvious fact that when you are tired, you will crave sugar and carbohydrates for quick energy. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that as the amount of sleep decreases, blood sugar increases, escalating the issue. The study found that people who slept less than six hours a night experienced blood sugar problems, compared to those who slept for eight hours or more.
This has to do in part with burning sugar versus fat for fuel. Humans are designed to burn fat during the sleep cycle because it burns long and slow, like a log on a campfire, in contrast to sugar and carbs which burn quickly, more like kindling on fire.
Additional research found that compromised sleep correlates with your body’s ability to produce other hormones, which in turn affect blood sugar. For example, when you stay up late, your body makes more of the hormone cortisol, which affects how insulin works.
Disrupting your natural biological clock, known as your circadian rhythms, by waking up in the night can contribute to insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance and other undetected blood sugar issues prevent many people from activating their fat metabolism during the night. Instead, the body attempts to burn sugar and carbs until the supply runs out, causing blood sugar to plummet. This then triggers a epinephrine response, which, of course, can wake you up and make it tough to fall back to sleep. Many find themselves stuck in this vicious cycle of sleep deprivation raising blood sugar, and unstable blood sugar, in turn, compromising quality sleep.
Symptoms of Blood Sugar Night Waking
If you have two or more of the symptoms below, you might consider essential oils to support your blood sugar.
- Awaken hours after going to bed
- Find it difficult to go back to sleep
- Crave coffee or sweets in the afternoon
- Feel sleepy or have energy dips in afternoon
- Feel fatigued after meals
- Need stimulants such as coffee after meals
- Feel like skipping breakfast
- Slow starter in the morning
- Chronic low back pain, worse with fatigue
- Chronic fatigue, or get drowsy often
Essential Oils for Blood Sugar Night Waking
If you wake up in the middle of the night due to blood sugar issues, Pancreas™ blend may be helpful. As you may know, the pancreas is responsible for moving glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells. If blood sugar falls too low while you are sleeping, the body releases an emergency surge of epinephrine which spurs the liver to convert its stores of glycogen into glucose, raising blood glucose levels. The epinephrine surge feels like a kick of adrenaline and is what wakes you up. It is the job of the pancreas to kick into high gear to return blood sugar levels to normal.
Supporting the pancreas in this effort with Vibrant Blue Oils Pancreas™ blend helps return the body to balance more quickly so you can fall back asleep more easily. Specifically, Geranium is linked with “a significant decrease in blood sugar levels,” according to a study published in Lipids in Health and Disease in 2012. It also helps balance blood sugar by supporting your liver. I often leave the Pancreas™ blend on my nightstand table. Just smelling the Pancreas™ blend can help balance the pancreas enough to allow me to fall back asleep naturally.
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