Can High Sugar Make You Tired?

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Damanjit Duggal, MD, MBBS January 6, 2022

Last updated on January 31st, 2022

Individuals with type 1 or 2 diabetes are usually alert to the signs that follow high blood glucose. For a person with a recent diagnosis of diabetes or an individual with standard or prediabetic levels, on the other hand, those signs might not be as noticeable. It might be hard to distinguish between the signs of high blood glucose and other illnesses as few may be nonspecific. One of these nonspecific signs of high glucose levels in the blood that diabetics often experience is fatigue. Here in this article, you can read about the correlation between blood sugar and exhaustion and does diabetes causes fatigue.

Causes of Tiredness or Fatigue

Many factors can make a person feel fatigued. However, when you have diabetes, the main reason for tiredness in most cases is uncontrolled blood sugar. If you have high or uncontrolled diabetes, irrespective of how better you eat or how well you sleep, you will have general tiredness throughout the day.

According to a study conducted by the Industrial Psychiatry Journal, diabetes patients are 10.37 times more prone to fatigue and 4.8 times more prone to depression than non-diabetics. The study also found a strong correlation between fatigue and depression. Hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic blood sugar also aggravate fatigue.

Other Causes of Fatigue

Moreover, fatigue also happens in those without diabetes. There can be multiple reasons behind it. Other common causes of tiredness can be:

  • Diabetes: unexpected and excessive tiredness is one of the major signs of uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Cancer: most tumor types result in fatigue to a certain extent.
  • Anemia: In this condition, a person does not have sufficient red blood cells in the body, making the body weak.
  • Depression: continuous weariness is the main sign of depression or mental stress. Most depressed individuals feel tired, even though they don’t feel sad.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a condition that brings about inexplicable exhaustion or fatigue.
  • Coeliac Disease: an autoimmune health problem in which inflammation in the intestinal lining impacts the body’s capacity to absorb nutrients in a proper manner.
  • Infections: exhaustion can also occur due to various infections including flu (influenza).
  • Low thyroid (hypothyroidism): If a person’s thyroid level is low, he or she is expected to feel tired, sleepy, or depressed.
  • Undiagnosed heart ailment: If a person feels fatigued after carrying out tasks that he or she used to do well, it might be a good time for a heart evaluation.
  • Low levels of testosterone, particularly in males. Males with diabetes are much more expected to have low testosterone.
  • Drug side effects: a majority of medicines for diabetes, depression, blood pressure, or pain can bring about fatigue.
  • Lack of sleep or poor sleep: many individuals are too agitated or too busy to sleep.
  • Shift work, rotating shifts, or working nights may also cause fatigue.
  • Diet: excess carbs, particularly refined carbs may make a person feel tired, particularly with diabetes. Excessive caffeine can also result in diabetes fatigue syndrome. Also, dehydration, or not drinking enough liquid, is the main reason behind fatigue.

Read More: Zinc Rich food for diabetics

Can High Sugar Make You Tired?

Is fatigue a symptom of diabetes? Fatigue is the most common sign of high blood glucose, and it is also termed diabetes fatigue. According to the Diabetes UK website, when there are persistent high sugar levels in your body, it impacts the body’s required energy needs. There can be possibly two reasons behind this. First is inadequate secretion of insulin hormone and second is increased insulin resistance in the body.

When a person’s body experiences raised levels of blood glucose, it goes into overdrive and produces an adequate amount of insulin to balance it out. If there is no sufficient level of insulin or the body fails to react to the insulin as it ought to, then the body begins pulling from fat to produce the energy it requires. When this occurs, energy is utilized from the breakdown of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.

One of the three phosphates gets expelled out from ATP for energy and gets converted to another molecule called adenosine diphosphate, or ADP. In the absence of energy sources to pull from, the ATP fails to recover the phosphate it gave away, causing diabetes weakness or fatigue.

Also, diabetes patients on high dosages of medicines, including insulin, may face tiredness if their blood sugar falls into the hypoglycemic range (low).

Read More: Normal Sugar Range

What Causes Fatigue in Diabetes?

As explained above, heavy diabetes medications can make diabetics feel tired throughout the day. Along with uncontrolled sugar levels is the second reason. There can be some questions in your mind, like: Why does too much sugar make you tired? Or can insulin resistance cause fatigue? In diabetes, tiredness can result from several factors.

  • High levels of glucose in the blood.
  • Heavy diabetes drugs like diuretics, beta-blockers, insulin shots, metformin, biguanides, etc., may cause fatigue in some diabetics.
  • Long term dependence on medicines like metformin can lead to nutrient deficiency in the body, which may cause tiredness.

Identifying Fatigue

According to the Diabetes UK website, signs of fatigue can be:

  • Deficient or no energy
  • Trouble while doing simple daily tasks
  • Feeling low or unhappy (mental fatigue)

Regular exercise along with a healthy diet plus a good night’s sleep may frequently improve any person’s energy levels. Also, mindfulness as well as other meditation-based approaches are just perfect for mitigating stress and depression as well as improving mental health.

Read More: Can High or Low Blood Sugar Cause a Seizure?

Detecting Blood Sugar Spikes

Fatigue happens due to multiple conditions. Therefore, it is only high blood sugar every time behind stress. However, diabetics are advised to get their sugar levels checked at regular and fixed intervals. This can be a very common way for people to detect blood sugar spikes and keep their tiredness in check.

Diving further, when we figure out the top reason for hyperglycemia or high blood sugar, the only reason is a disturbance in the body’s insulin functionality. Either the insulin is not being secreted in sufficient amounts, or the body has become insulin resistant.

Some reasons that disturb insulin secretion and sensitivity in the body include:

  • Consuming food irrationally and in heavy amounts continuously
  • Not performing any physical exercise
  • Being under excessive stress and anxiety
  • Irregular, inadequate and inconsistent insulin intake
  • Dysfunction in diabetes pump

Other risk factors that must be considered are age, weight, smoking, alcohol, BP, and cholesterol levels. All these factors are general symptoms, just predeccesisng diabetes. If not controlled initially, it can lead to type 2 diabetes in no time.

Preventing Blood Glucose Spikes

Preventing Blood Glucose Spikes

Dealing with diabetes fatigue can be a real struggle, but don’t worry, there are ways to combat it. Blood glucose spikes that bring about fatigue can be prevented by making use of some strategies like:

Well-balanced diet:

it’s crucial to have a well-balanced diet. We know, we know, you’ve heard it a million times, but it’s the truth! Make sure to include complex carbs, lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and veggies. These will provide you with sustained energy throughout the day, preventing those dreaded energy crashes.

Stay hydrated:

Dehydration can exacerbate fatigue, so make sure to sip on water regularly. You can even infuse it with some fruit slices or herbs to make it more exciting.
Regular physical workout:

Exercise/workout might seem counterintuitive when you’re feeling exhausted. But trust us, it can work wonders! Even a gentle stroll or some light stretching can help boost your energy levels and improve your overall well-being.
Stress management:

Chronic stress can drain your energy reserves faster than you can say “diabetes fatigue.” Try incorporating relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga into your routine.
Prioritize quality sleep:

Aim for 7-9 hours per night, and create a calming bedtime routine to help you wind down. A good night’s rest can make all the difference in managing diabetes fatigue.

Remember, you’ve got this! With a little bit of effort and some lifestyle adjustments, you can kick diabetes fatigue to the curb and reclaim your energy.

When is it Good to See a Healthcare Provider?

It’s usual to feel exhausted now and again, but if fatigue persists longer than 2 weeks, it can be a good time to visit a doctor/diabetologist. According to Diabetes.UK website, for people who also experience signs of blood glucose spikes like an enhanced thirst, urinating often, nausea, drowsiness, or fatigue could be an indication that they have developed or are at risk of developing diabetes. For people who already are diabetic, regular appointments for regulating their blood glucose and managing their diabetes are very vital since these signs can indicate that their current treatment plan is no longer effective.

Diabetes fatigue management is very important for those with both type 1 and types 2 diabetes. It might be troublesome to manage the condition, particularly at first, but not unfeasible. The best approach to manage signs or complications of the medical condition is to book an appointment with a diabetes specialist as they can aid in tacking fatigue and other signs by including certain lifestyle changes.


High glucose levels in the blood can have dangerous consequences if left untreated. Diabetics already are aware of the outcomes of high blood sugar all too well, but for those who are unaware, it may be difficult to pin down the risk of developing the condition or illnesses that follow it like fatigue.


What can a person with diabetes take to provoke his or her sleep?

The research studies found that short-term usage of prolonged-release melatonin helps in improving sleep maintenance in individuals with type 2 diabetes and insomnia without having an effect on the blood glucose and lipid metabolism.

What does diabetes fatigue feel like?

A majority of diabetics describe themselves as feeling exhausted, lethargic, or drained at times. It can be because of stress, hard work, or diabetes sleeplessness but it can also be associated with having too high or too low blood sugar levels.

Does type 2 diabetes make you tired?

With this type of diabetes, poor blood glucose control classically results in hyperglycemia or high blood sugar, which may bring about fatigue among other signs.

What is the suggested amount of sleep for a person with diabetes?

To keep your blood sugar in balance, try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. If you work at night or have rotating shifts: Try to maintain regular meal and sleep times, even on your days off, if you can.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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