Experts Speak

Sugarfit Blueprint : Mindfulness & Quality Sleep

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent and costly chronic conditions that imposes many limitations to the activities of an individual living with it. There are multiple studies that have proved that mindfulness-based stress reduction training has a positive effect on the quality of sleep and psychological distress in people with type 2 diabetes.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be defined as a heightened sense of present or centred self-awareness that fosters non-judgemental observations of emotions, bodily states and other sensations leading to holistic wellbeing. (L. Medina et al, 2017) This state of awareness can be enhanced through the use of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), which are preventive and complementary interventions in T2DM, particularly for the relief of symptoms related to depression, anxiety,  diabetes-related distress and insomnia. (Keng, S. et al, 2011)

Why is Mindfulness important for a person with Diabetes?

According the Bishop’s Theory (Bishop S. et al, 2004), Two Components in the Mindfulness Model are- 

  • Self-regulation of attention to focus on immediate experience, allowing mental events to be recognized in the present moment.
  • Orientation of experience towards the present moment, leading to openness, curiosity, and acceptance.

Addressing emotional eating is another important component of mindfulness and effective weight-management strategies. Some people turn to food as a response to emotions. Collaborating to identify coping strategies like meditation, yoga and mindful eating techniques supports their efforts to respond to emotions while eating a nutritious diet. Building a behaviour change plan around past strategies and what is important to the individual is a way to set up each person for success. (Koshki & Haroon, 2019)

Mindfulness-based interventions can successfully target negative perseverative cognitions such as worry and thought suppression and have positive effects on stress reduction, on the quality of sleep, anxiety, depression, and stress in people with type 2 diabetes. Meditation and other mindfulness skills led to improved sleep, greater relaxation, and more-accepting approaches to illness and illness experience.

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What are Mindfulness-Based Interventions and their Benefits?

The practice of meditation is associated with greater voluntary control of the mind and emotions, which helps reduce reactions to stress and improves an individual's coping skills, attention and awareness. Meditation interventions like MBSR (Mindfulness-based stress reduction) can be a good way to reduce psychological distress, improve mood and develop positive coping skills.

Various Studies have described how Mindfulness-based stress reduction was associated with significant improvements in diabetes distress, weight, glycaemic control and blood pressure control, thus improving heart health.

Effect of Mindfulness Meditation on various areas of Diabetes Care

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Ref : Mindfulness Meditation in Diabetes (2018)

Can Sleep Quality be defined and measured?

Sleep disturbance is a common health complaint affecting a lot of the general population. Accumulated sleep deficiency can increase the risk for mood and anxiety disorders, cognitive impairment, and a variety of medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and obesity. (Morrin & Jarrin, 2013) The practice of Mindfulness, designed with a focus on sleep, provides an opportunity to create the mental space needed to allow sleep to come back where meditation is effectively combined with other strategies to change behaviours that might be causing poor sleep.

How is Sleep related to Diabetes?

Getting anything less than 7 hours of sleep per night makes it harder to manage your diabetes. Too little sleep can not only increase insulin resistance and make you hungrier the next day, but also reduce how full you feel after eating. Due to unstable and fluctuating blood sugar levels and its symptoms from High and Low blood sugar during the night can lead to insomnia and next-day fatigue.

In conclusion, it is evident that the relation between your sleep quality, duration and pattern can determine how easy or hard it may be to maintain Glycemic Control?

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