Diabetes patients, parents and healthcare providers all play a role in making sure children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) get enough sleep, said Stacey Simon, PhD, sleep psychologist and professor Associate, University of Colorado Denver, Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Stacey Simon, PhD, sleep psychologist and associate professor, University of Colorado Denver, Colorado Children’s Hospital, explains how children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are affected differently by lack of sleep than the general population, and what steps can be taken to improve sleep.
How does lack of sleep affect a child with T1D differently than a child without T1D?
Not getting enough sleep definitely impacts all of us. I think anyone who’s had a bad night’s sleep knows how grumpy and groggy we feel the next day, so insufficient sleep can definitely impact our mood, our emotional regulation, our level of attention. This is the case for everyone, but then, especially for type 1 diabetes patients, not getting enough sleep can also impact their ability to adhere to whatever treatment regimen they have to follow – all the things they need to think about. and take care of – for their health the next day. This could therefore have additive consequences.
What can parents, doctors and children themselves do to ensure that they are getting enough quality sleep?
I think the first is really to prioritize sleep. Trying to schedule enough time in bed at night to allow them to get the recommended number of hours of sleep for their age is really helpful. Scheduling consistent bedtimes and wake-up times, even on weekends and summer vacations, is also great for setting the body’s internal clock. And then establish a consistent evening routine, something to help them wind down, wind down before bed. This certainly includes turning electronic devices off and on. And then I think it’s important that diabetic healthcare providers also ask patients questions about sleep. I think this may not be common practice yet, but it could really elucidate some useful information and then enable providers to help their patients have healthier sleep.
Kids don’t always recognize the importance of good sleep, so I think constantly hearing that message from parents, from their health care providers, and that everyone is kind of working collaboratively, can be helpful. to help them have these good sleeping habits.