Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

6 Ways to Stop Diabetes From Making You Tired

By
WebMD Feature

Feeling fatigued? If you have diabetes, tiredness can be one of the symptoms.  

The first step toward feeling better is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will check your overall health, including how well your diabetes is controlled and whether you have any other medical conditions that need attention.

It will help if you keep a diary for a week or two for your doctor. In it, write down:

  • Your blood sugar levels.
  • How stressed you feel. Some people feel burned out from the effort it takes to manage diabetes every day.
  • How often and how much you exercise.
  • What you eat and when you eat it and how much you eat.
  • How much and how well you slept.  
  • If you wake up at night because you're snoring, need to use the bathroom, or if anything else interrupts a full night’s sleep.  
  • How you feel when you wake up in the morning. Do you feel rested or tired?

Together, you and your doctor can make a plan to boost your energy level. Your plan may include:

6 Tips to Get Your Energy Back

1. Exercise. Move more, and you get more energy. People who take a brisk, daily 30-minute walk are less tired than idle people, says Cynthia Fritschi, PhD, RN, CDE, assistant professor in the biobehavioral health science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing. 

Choose an activity you like, whether it's Zumba, tennis, walking, gardening, or swimming. Do it for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day. If you can't spare that much time at once, sneak in shorter (10-minute) periods of exercise whenever you can. As long as it adds up to 30-60 minutes per day, that's what counts.

Wear a pedometer so you know how many steps you're taking each day. Try to add 500 steps a day until you reach at least 10,000 daily steps, says Geralyn Spollett, MSN, ANP, CDE, of the American Diabetes Association and Yale Diabetes Center.

2. Watch your diet. To keep your blood sugar level steady, eat three healthy meals and a snack during the day. Include healthy carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables and whole grains, as well as lean protein from sources such as beans, tofu, fish, or skinless chicken breasts.

3. Avoid caffeine, especially late in the day. Caffeine can keep you awake and disrupt sleep. It can also make it harder to control your blood sugar, if you overdo it.  

4. Get enough B vitamins. B vitamins help nerve health. If you have nerve problems from diabetes, make sure you're getting these nutrients from your diet (good sources are foods such as fish, poultry, fortified cereals, and eggs) or a supplement. It's a good idea to tell your doctor about any supplements you take, including vitamins, so they can check that you're getting the right amount.

5. Check on your snoring. Many people with diabetes briefly stop breathing several times at night. That's called sleep apnea. Symptoms include snoring, feeling sleepy during the day, having trouble concentrating, and often waking up with a headache or sore throat. Tell your doctor if you, or your bed partner, notice those things. Sleep apnea can be treated, and that could help you get better at night, which gives you more daytime energy.

6. Stay hydrated. You can become fatigued if you're dehydrated. Drink at least 8-9 glasses of fluids a day.

Reviewed on September 06, 2012

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections