Does High Blood Sugar Cause Drowsiness

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Does high blood sugar cause drowsiness? Drowsiness, a condition in which you feel abnormally tired or abnormally sleepy during the day, could be miserable. It may have to do with a variety of things – from lifestyle factors and mental states to certain health conditions. So it’s not always easy to figure out the underlying cause.

Drowsiness signs and symptoms

How it feels like may vary from person to person. But in general, it’s characterized with the following signs and symptoms [1]:

  1. Feeling sleepiness, which could be intense enough to interfere with function or your daily activities.
  2. If you’re easy to get it in sedentary activities (e.g. sitting, reading books, or watching television). Sometimes you’re easily dozing off with these activities. The problems may make you to fall asleep at inapposite times.
  3. Difficulty concentrating, poor attention, or you may also experience forgetfulness (short-term memory problem).
  4. It’s hard to keep productive in your daily activities if you skip naps. This is particularly true if you naps are prolonged, frequent, or if you feel unrefreshing after sleeping!

Drowsiness may cause serious impacts on your health or put you at dangerous situation. You’re likely to fall asleep when driving for example.

It may also cause physical tolls, making other problems (such as weight gain, hormonal imbalance, and chronic pain) more likely [2]. It would take serious tolls on your quality of life if left untreated.

The underlying cause of your drowsiness is the key of how your treatment plan will go. If the cause is treatable, the prognosis is good. But sometimes the cause is chronic condition, making drowsiness would also become chronic (come & go).

The link between high blood sugar and drowsiness

High blood sugar is usually associated with diabetes. And if you’re a diabetic, it’s possible for the disease to make you feel sleepiness more likely.

Depending on how well you manage the blood sugar level, the disease could be asymptomatic (your diabetes symptoms are less likely to occur). But if the level goes beyond your safe target range, you may experience symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of diabetes may vary by individual, which usually depending on how much your blood sugar spike is elevated. Some of the most common ones are frequent urination, increased thirst, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, frequent infections, and slow-healing wounds [3].

And it’s not uncommon if diabetes (high blood sugar) and its symptoms to carry negative impacts on your sleep. And if the quality of your sleep is impaired, you’re at high risk of getting drowsiness.

How does high blood sugar affect your sleep?

One study suggests that there is a connection between diabetes and sleep disturbances (including difficulty staying awake during the day) [4]. Also, sleep deprivation may have a role to cause insulin resistance more likely.

High blood sugar of diabetes doesn’t necessarily point to sleep problems. But it’s more a matter of your diabetes symptoms and how you control them!

For examples — the following situations (in people with diabetes) may cause issues when they’re trying to get sleep or rest at night, causing drowsiness more likely during the day:

  1. A spike in blood sugar causes frequent urination, including at night. This could be very bothersome at night. As a result, you’re likely to get up frequently to pass urine.
  2. Another symptom, increased thirst would also cause the same effect on your sleep cycle. High amounts of glucose in your blood will make your body to draw more fluid from your body’s tissues. So you tend to feel dehydrated during sleep, making you get up at night for regular glasses of water.

Also, high blood sugar may drive you to feel unsettled (irritable) or your body feels too warm. All these things would cause significant impact upon your sleep.

Diabetes is also linked to some sleep problems

Drowsiness in diabetics may also be associated with something else. In fact, the following sleep problems are also quite common in people with diabetes:

Sleep apnea

This sleep disorder affects your breathing during sleep throughout the night. It causes your breathing frequently stop and start so you’re likely to have poor quality of sleep and get drowsiness during the day.

It is probably the most common type of sleep disorder found in diabetics especially people with type-2 diabetes, one study in 2009 suggests [5]. Even treatment is necessary for 55 percent of this group.

The high number of sleep apnea in people with type-2 diabetes has to do with obesity factor.


Drowsiness, recurrent staying sleep, and recurrent falling asleep are some common symptoms of insomnia.

High glucose levels may factor into insomnia. The risk may increase when you have high glucose levels along with high stress.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS)

As the name suggests, this syndrome is a condition in which you have a constant urge to move legs so you’re more difficult to fall asleep. More often, it occurs in the evening hours.

There are several factors that contribute to cause this syndrome. The main one is probably deficiency of certain minerals in the body, such as iron. Other factors may include thyroid problems, kidney dysfunction, and high blood sugar levels.

RLS is also quite common in smokers. Tobacco smoke might impair the balance of minerals in the body.

Your mental state may have a role too

Mental state problem, like depression, is quite common in people with diabetes. And did you know that this might also make drowsiness more likely?

Depression is one of common psychological problems that can drive people to feel more apathetic and fatigued. The same goes when you have high levels of anxiety or stress.

The link between depression and high blood sugar (diabetes) is probably not fully understood, but there are some theories to explain this. Some of these theories are as follows:


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