Want to know how you can optimize your glucose levels to optimize your sleep and recovery?
We’re exploring the science behind the impact of glucose levels on your sleep quality.
New research is showing how sleep can affect your glucose levels, and how your glucose levels can affect your sleep. And we know that both are critical to maximizing recovery.
How Can You Optimize Sleep With Your Glucose Levels?
Sleep is crucial for performance and recovery. And better glucose control results in better sleep quality.
Here are 5 ways you can improve your glucose control and help optimize your sleep:
- Lower your Glucose Variability
- Reduce the frequency of “high highs”
- Reduce the frequency of “low lows”
- Limit glucose spikes before bed time
- Increase exercise
Glucose and Sleep
Several pieces of evidence have shown a direct link between sleep quality and glucose control. In particular, those with bad glucose control (higher variability, more frequent high glucose levels, and more frequent low glucose levels) have worse sleep compared with those who have better glucose control throughout their day.
Clearly sleep is crucial for recovery and performance. But interestingly, glucose and sleep look to have a bidirectional influence on each other. So, sleep impacts your glucose levels and your glucose levels impact your sleep. If you want to learn more about the relationship between glucose levels, circadian rhythms, and sleep, check out our article: The Relationship Between Glucose Levels, Sleep, and Circadian Rhythms.
1. Lower your Glucose Variability
Lower variability throughout the day and before bed can have many benefits in addition to improving your sleep quality, including reduced hunger and improved energy levels. To get more stable glucose levels, ensure that you are sufficiently exercising, ordering the food you eat so that carbohydrate-rich foods are last (for example, after fat and protein), and even going for a post-dinner walk.
2. Reduce the frequency of “high highs”
To help reduce high highs, you can follow much of the advice from point #1. These actions will all help reduce steep glucose spikes and high highs. Another thing you can do is avoid highly processed foods (this includes the usual suspects like confectionery, and also things like alternative, non-dairy milks which many Supersapiens have found to spike their glucose.)
3. Reduce the frequency of “low lows”
Sometimes, we skip post-training meals or simply guess how much to refuel with. Ensuring you are eating enough, specifically carbohydrates, will help reduce the amount of time you spend below 70 mg/dL and help reduce the number of low lows. This is particularly pertinent in periods of high volume training or intensified training periods. Keep in mind that avoiding large glucose spikes can help prevent rebound lows, but you may not see as high of a spike from the same fuel immediately after exercise. Real-time data is crucial here!
4. Limit glucose spikes before bed time
Generally avoiding large meals close to bedtime is good sleep hygiene. Avoiding large glucose spikes from those meals can help further. Some people have said that glucose spikes before bed help them fall asleep. Although this can be true, the challenge becomes maintaining this sleep and sleep quality after falling asleep. If this is you, then find the right amount of glucose before bed that helps you get to sleep and stay asleep. Otherwise generally avoid eating close to bed time.
5. Increase exercise
If you are only exercising a low to moderate amount, increasing exercise will help your sleep. This has a limit though, it is unlikely that any more exercise for someone already in serious training (for an Ironman or something similar) will see sleep benefits from more training. In fact, it is more likely that you will notice sleep impairments.
The key takeaway: Get active during the day and do what you can to keep your glucose levels stable before you shut your eyes. Optimize your glucose levels. Optimize your sleep. Optimize your recovery.
Better glucose control starts with real-time visibility and accountability. Ready to optimize your sleep and recovery with CGM? Get your biosensors at supersapiens.com.
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