Diabetes, Depression, Sleep and Hypnosis--A Surprising Connection
By C. Devin Hastings
"You cannot always control circumstances, but you can control your own thoughts."
Discussed in this article:
1) The Sleep-Diabetes Connection.
2) Sleep and Depression--A Brief Overview
3) How A Hypnotist Can Help.
The Sleep-Diabetes Connection
"Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future; practice these acts. As to diseases, make a habit of two things"to help, or at least to do no harm." (1)
Unfortunately sometimes a solution to one problem creates another. This means that, in some cases, to help is to inadvertently invite harm. Doctors are faced with this dilemma everyday.
For example, if a diabetic patient is depressed then, anti-depressants may be one solution. The challenge is that anti-depressants and many other medications can cause insomnia. (2)
This brings us to this article's main point: The 'Hidden Condition' that frustrates doctors and hurt diabetics---Sleep disorders.
Sleep disorders have been linked to exacerbating or even precipitating diabetes as well as depression.
Allow me to explain more fully: It is known that poor sleep robs people of their health in general. But, for diabetics, it can actually cause a worsening of their condition. In the 2001 annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association, a study was presented that warned that a chronic lack of sleep may cause far more serious problems than a tendency to get sleepy behind the wheel.
The study found that people who do not get enough sleep on a regular basis tend to become less sensitive to insulin over time. This can raise the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. In fact, according to Bryce A. Mander, the study co-author, it turns out that chronic sleep deprivation--6.5 hours or less of sleep a night--has the same effect on insulin resistance (3) as aging.
Furthermore, according to the study director, Dr. Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago, healthy adults who averaged 316 minutes of sleep a night--about 5.2 hours--over 8 consecutive nights secreted 50% more insulin (4) than their more rested counterparts who averaged 477 minutes of sleep a night, or about 8 hours. As a result, "short sleepers" were 40% less sensitive to insulin.
What is fascinating is that the poor sleep/excess insulin (hyper-insulinemia) connection has not received the attention it deserves. Even the Mayo Clinic is apparently unaware of this connection. Please review the following definition of hyper-insulinemia given by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER):
"The term hyper-insulinemia means abnormally high levels of insulin in your blood. It's not a disease.
Instead, it may indicate an underlying problem that's causing your pancreas to make and release too much insulin. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar.
Causes of hyperinsulinemia include:
Insulin resistance. This occurs when your body doesn't use insulin properly. Risk factors include a family history of insulin resistance, lack of activity, obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome.
A tumor of the pancreas (insulinoma), which secretes excess insulin.
Hyper-insulinemia doesn't cause signs or symptoms. But if it leads to abnormally low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), signs and symptoms may include sweating, weakness, slurred speech, confusion and seizures.
Hyper-insulinemia is often associated with type 2 diabetes" By Mayo Clinic staff ---December 10, 2003" (http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=HQ00896)
Here is the challenge with the preceding information: It seems that it may not be fully accurate. This idea is put forth because the preceding Mayo definition states that:
(a) Hyper-insulinemia is not a disease and that
(b) Hyper-insulinemia has no signs.
Addressing the first point that hyper-insulinemia is not a disease:
Hyper-insulinemia is a now well recognized to be a predictor of diabetes. Also important to note is that excess insulin can cause or significantly contribute to the onset of heart disease and premature aging as well as diabetes.
Also bear in mind that insulin is a storage hormone produced by the body to lower blood sugar by sending it into the cells. Over time, excess blood sugar and insulin stresses the system and the cells become less responsive. This condition is known as insulin resistance.
Also note that in his best-selling book Protein Power, Dr. Michael Eades wrote:
"When insulin levels become too high... metabolic havoc ensues with elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, diabetes, and obesity all trailing in its wake. These disorders are merely symptoms of a single more basic disturbance in metabolism, excess insulin and insulin resistance."
It is also understood that excess insulin promotes smooth-muscle growth in blood vessel walls, which contributes to the formation of plaques. Artery walls become thickened and stiff, causing blood pressure to rise.
So, to classify hyper-insulinemia as a non-disease seems a bit short sighted when, if it was treated with more concern and urgency as a disease, then perhaps other disease states could be avoided.
Now, let's look at the second point that hyper-insulinemia has no signs. Wouldn't it make sense to think that perhaps it has symptoms and signs not yet recognized or associated? In my opinion, this condition does have plenty of symptoms: Low blood sugar reactions (moodiness, irritability, sweating, confusion, etc..), weight gain, elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
And there are probably a host of other signs and symptoms that accompany excess insulin levels. The question to ask is Who is looking for them? The answer? Not too many people. Hence, no generally agreed upon signs or symptoms.
If nothing else, the preceding should challenge those who can, to seek to eliminate or validate the idea that hyper-insulinemia is indeed a health crisis of a significant degree and, that it's treatment could have untold benefits.
Sleep and Depression--A Brief Overview
Poor sleep and depression form a very vicious circle.
It is well noted that poor sleep contributes to depression. During a webcast on August 21, 2003, James C. O'Brien, M.D., FCCP, ABSM stated that:
"During REM-stage sleep is where we learn situations and incorporate situations and deal with emotions that, unless we deal with it properly, will affect us in terms of our daytime functioning on a mental, emotional level."
The point is that feelings of depression that can be caused just by poor sleep, can adversely affect a person's ability to take proper care of their health. Hence, good sleep is especially important for diabetics because sadness or depression induced by poor sleep can have deleterious consequences never mind the actual physical problems noted earlier.
Health care workers should also note that according to the National Sleep Foundation 2002 Annual Sleep Survey, almost 74% of Americans do not get enough sleep each night. The survey also found that those with sleep problems are twice as likely to feel stressed and tired.
The preceding facts are pointed out to alert those who treat diabetics that:
(a) There is a very good chance that their diabetic patients are suffering from a sleep disorder and
(b) A sleep disorder can frustrate their attempts to treat their patients for diabetes.
Something else that may interest those who treat diabetics is that sleep apnea treatment can lower glucose levels in diabetics. (5)
How A Hypnotist Can Help
All the preceding information and discussion takes us to our next point. Now that it is recognized that good sleep is utterly essential as an adjunct treatment for diabetes and pre-diabetes, doesn't it make sense that a non-medicated approach to good sleep for these conditions would be reasonable as an important, first effort treatment?
I state 'first effort' because the dictum, "First do no harm" would seem to indicate that drug therapy should be a second treatment approach because some drug medications can sometimes cause other problems.
So what is a safer, first approach treatment for good sleep? Hypnosis.
William S. Kroger, M.D., states in his book Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis that "Hypnosis effects improvement in acute cases of insomnia. Often a single session is effective in restoring the sleep cycle, particularly if auto-hypnosis has been taught on the initial visit."
Karen Olness, M.D. and Daniel P. Kohen, M.D. in their book Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy With Children, note the following:
"Hurwitz, Mahowald, Schenck, Schulter, and Bundlie (1991) described the successful use of hypnosis in 27 adult patients with sleep terror disorders. Seventy-four percent reported much or very much improvement with the use and practice of self-hypnosis."
Bear in mind that if you go to see a hypnotist for a diagnosed sleep disorder (or any other diagnosed medical condition) the hypnotist must have your doctor's consent before treating you. In this referral, it must be clear that you have been cleared of any disorder that a hypnotist cannot or should not treat that may be causing your sleep problems.
As a final note: A hypnotist truly can make an enormous difference in a person's quality of life and health simply by helping them to sleep better. If you have not been sleeping well and, it seems to be worsening other conditions than, at the very least try a hypnosis for better sleep CD. The are hundreds available on the internet.
C. Devin Hastings
"Speak well to yourself because your deep mind is always listening."
(1) Hippocrates in his Epidemics, Bk. I, Sect. XI.
(2) National Sleep Foundation Sleeptionary TM About Insomnia.
(3) Insulin resistance is a major factor in most cases of diabetes. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body cannot properly utilize normal amounts of insulin.
(4) The more insulin a person's pancreas has to produce, the more likely it is that eventually the beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas, will break down.
(5) Archives of Internal Medicine--February 28th, 2205
About The Author
C. Devin Hastings, a diabetic, suffered from depression for over 20 years and is dedicated to making information available to others that can help them to change their lives. To learn more about Devin and hypnosis, please visit: www.depression-hypnosis.com
Copyright 2005 C. Devin Hastings All Rights Reserved
Article may be reprinted if text is unchanged and author contact information is prominent.