Still count­ing sheep? Try these strate­gies in­stead

Los­ing qual­ity sleep can put ex­tra stress on the body, caus­ing higher-than-aver­age morn­ing blood sug­ars. But don’t worry— if you’re strug­gling to fall or stay asleep, we’ve got you cov­ered.

Diabetic Living (USA) - - Contents - BY MICAELA YOUNG, M.S.

SEARCH FOR PAT­TERNS

First, try to iden­tify what’s keep­ing you up. “If you keep a blood glu­cose log, mark the nights you didn’t sleep well and why,” sug­gests Linda Til­ton, RD, a cer­ti­fied di­a­betes care and ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist with the Univer­sity of Ver­mont Med­i­cal Cen­ter. Were you watch­ing the even­ing news in bed? Did neu­ropa­thy-re­lated pain keep you up? You may start to see pat­terns form­ing, and this can help you take ac­tion.

GET OUT OF BED If sleep just isn’t in the cards, the best thing to do is to get up. “If you try to force sleep to hap­pen, you start as­so­ci­at­ing the bed with a place of frus­tra­tion, wake­ful­ness, or worry,” says Shelby Har­ris, Psy.D., author of The Women’s Guide to Over­com­ing In­som­nia. If you find your­self awake in bed for more than about 20 min­utes, go to an­other room and “pass the time with some­thing that doesn’t use screens, like read­ing, jig­saw puz­zles, col­or­ing—some­thing old school,” adds Har­ris. Then get back in bed when you’re ac­tu­ally sleepy again.

MAN­AGE WOR­RIES When our bod­ies are quiet, our thoughts can run wild. To calm busy minds, Til­ton sug­gests do­ing a brain dump to help you park any wor­ries un­til the next day. “Keep a notepad by your bed and when you wake up anx­ious, write down why and what you can do about it to­mor­row.”

BE CON­SIS­TENT “I like to think about sleep hy­giene like den­tal hy­giene,” says Har­ris. Just like floss­ing your teeth ev­ery night can help pre­vent cav­i­ties, a healthy bed­time rou­tine can help pre­vent sleep prob­lems. This in­cludes pow­er­ing down elec­tron­ics and re­lax­ing your body an hour be­fore bed, lim­it­ing caf­feine later in the day, avoid­ing al­co­hol, and hav­ing a con­sis­tent bed­time and wake time, which trains your body to rest when you want it to, ex­plains Har­ris. And if you take naps, con­sider lim­it­ing your rest to 10 to 20 min­utes. Your night­time self will thank you!

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