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Lifestyle Factors | Managing Diabetes

Lifestyle factors are often disregarded or mentioned last in terms of priorities for achieving blood sugar balance. Yet getting lifestyle right is as essential to getting nutrition right. Really they go hand in hand because once we get lifestyle right, all other factors seem to come a little bit easier.


It’s overlooked, but sleep is paramount to ensuring insulin sensitivity is optimized. There is so much research out there showing that being deprived of sleep and being insulin resistant are linked.

A study from Archives of Internal Medicine found that people with diabetes who had a poor sleep quality report having higher than average HbA1c levels, that’s the recording of the average sugar levels of the past three months.

Studies have shown that getting less than 7 to 8 hours a night of good sleep can increase the body’s production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone and it can contribute to insulin resistance in people with Type II diabetes, as well as in people who don’t have diabetes, making them more prone to it.

It seems to reflect a vicious cycle which I see all too often in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. You’re likely to have noticed this yourself – a lack of sleep tends to lead you to reach for that sugary food that will give you that instant quick fix.

The importantce of Sleep to your fertilityBut this increases your blood sugar level and it makes you crave more quick fix foods which are high in sugar to get your energy up, which makes it difficult to sleep the following night as a result of frequent urination, most of the time in diabetics and being generally unsettled and it sets up a vicious pattern the following day.

So we can see a pattern starts to form of then again reaching for that food and the cycle goes on. So in short, ou need to ensure that you’re getting ideally eight hours of sleep a night, preferably getting to sleep before 10 PM.

Ensure that you follow your standard sleep hygiene, such as keeping TVs, computers and mobile phones out of the bedroom and do check your blood sugar, at least two hours before going to bed to ensure that you can correct a high or low level before actually getting to bed.


No secret that exercise is the key to controlling Type II diabetes. Many doctors urge their diabetic patients to get active, but it’s a pretty vague directive, in how much exercise is enough, how often and what kind. The simple answer is that any exercise is better than none.

To really maximize the effect of exercise, the combination of aerobic exercise and weight training is significantly better for controlling blood sugar than either alone. Studies show that 45 minutes of relatively vigorous cardiovascular exercise, three times a week along with 45 minutes of resistance or weight training, two times a week result in a 1% lower HbA1c, again the average of blood glucose readings after just 3 months.

The benefits of a 1% drop aren’t small and they go beyond blood sugar control. That reduction actually translates to a 15% decrease in heart attack and stroke risk and a 25% to 40% lower risk of diabetes related eye or kidney disease. So think of exercise as an inexpensive wonder drug, after all, there aren’t many drugs with no side effects that can lower your glucose levels by 1%, if it were a marketable drug, it would be priceless.

Exercise _ running down mtWe’ve seen Triathletes with Type I diabetes who had to double their insulin dose when they stopped training, and at the clinic we see Type II diabetics gradually reducing and sometimes coming off their medication completely when they start an exercise and healthy eating regime.

So this should be just enough motivation for you to start exercising daily. And the beauty of exercise is so that you can sneak in a tiny bit of carbohydrate if you are about to have a rigorous exercise session, you would obviously need to know what you sugar levels are before you do this.

Just do it and reap the benefit. You’ll get hooked on the results, I guarantee you and this will be one of the habits that you don’t want to get rid of.

Cortisol, which is a stress hormone will increase when the body is in fight or flight. Clinically elevated cortisol levels will increase insulin levels to address the high blood sugar and can leave you suffering that stubborn belly fat, which is often associated with insulin resistance.

We see this quiet often in women who are not ovulating or who is suffering from PCOS. With our private clients we truly do focus on our patient’s entire system picture. Our health assessment is a 360° one and view stress and anxiety as a significant contributor to sub optimal health.

We look at reducing stress levels through a combination of methods including nutrient turbo formulas and mind body technique. Being in a position to really take control of your eating can be hard when you’re not feeling right in yourself and when your anxiety levels are through the roof.

Stress and anxiety however present quite differently for everyone. So with my private clients, I tend to work through a few techniques that become their go-to tools and ensure that anxiety is not a factor that stands in the way of optimal blood sugar control or insulin resistance, PCOS and fertility.


About Gabriela Rosa MScM, ND

We help couples struggling with fertility difficulties and recurrent miscarriages for over 2 years take home healthy babies, even when other treatments have failed. The Fertility Challenge online event is FREE and works to redefine fertility and empower couples through a proven, interactive and transformational 12-day journey on their path to parenthood. We have now successfully educated and inspired over 100,000 people in 100+ countries toward their dream of becoming a parent. Click Here to Register Today.