People diagnosed with Type II diabetes tend to develop ulcers from even small wounds. The most common location of these ulcers is the foot area. The American Podiatric Medical Association states that 14 to 24% of diabetics who have an ulcer eventually undergo an amputation of the lower limb. This brings about the importance of wound healing in diabetics.

Adequate sleep helps hasten wound healing. Unfortunately, not all diabetics get sufficient hours of restful slumber.

A Study on Wound Healing and Sleep Deprivation

In the Sleep journal, fragmentation of sleep has an impact on wound healing. In the published study, scientists compared the obese mice that had Type II diabetes traits with mice of normal weight. Thirty-four adult male mice were anesthetized and incised on their backs. The scientists then observed and measured the length of time the wounds healed. The subject mice were grouped into two. One group of mice were always woken up several times during sleep. The other had an interrupted sleep schedule.

The diabetic mice that did not get enough sleep had delayed wound healing. It was so delayed that the small rodents needed a total of 13 days to be 50% healed. The wounds of the mice that had restful sleep were healed in just 10 days. They had fifty percent wound healing in less than seven days.

This study shows that poor quality of sleep weakens the immune system and slows down the process of healing. When the body lacks sleep, it becomes prone to infections, such as the common cold.

How Lack of Sleep Affects Wound Healing

When diabetics delay their sleep, their body loses the ability to heal itself quickly. Normally, the body restores during sleep. Yet, when it doesn’t get enough rest, the following happen:
1. Bad eating habits develop. When the body lacks rest, it becomes constantly tired. Once it feels tired, it craves for more energy, which the body gets from fatty and sweet foods. These food items delay wound healing further. Studies also show that people who do not sleep enough tend to eat more, leading to weight gain.
2. The immune system weakens. The body could only fight various infections, produce healthy tissue, and fully recover when the immune system is strong. If the diabetic patient does not sleep enough hours, the immune system becomes weak, it takes a longer time to heal, increasing the risk for infection.
3. Triggers and worsens heart issues. Inadequate sleep also affects heart health, which then affects the general health of the diabetic patient. If the patient develops a heart disease, poor circulation follows. This then delays the healing of the wound.
4. Retards the growth of new tissue. When there is a wound, there is damaged tissue. The only way to heal the wound is through healthy tissue growth, which happens during the 3rd and 4th stages of sleep. These stages only occur upon 70% completion of rest. Mere naps cannot compensate for interrupted nighttime sleep.

Restful slumber is a requirement for accelerated wound healing for both diabetics and people of normal health. It is especially crucial for diabetic patients because of the other conditions they develop. Have a full, uninterrupted nighttime sleep, combined with the proper care plan, and those wounds will heal in no time.


  1. Hi!
    I have been wondering why my cat scratches on my leg are not healing as quickly as before. I do work late and I even bring home my work. Thank you for this article. I will try to sleep more and see what happens.

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