Sleeping Illustration

Illustration: Greg Clarke

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Week 4: Take Care of Yourself
Changes in attitude are some of the most important you can make.

Try to Relax
A 2009 British study found that middle-aged women who experience low social support and high levels of stress at work are twice as likely to develop diabetes. I know that reducing stress can itself seem stressful. But you don't have to reinvent your life—even listening to a few favorite songs when you're feeling agitated can help. Study after study has revealed the restorative power of music.

Be Mindful of Your Health
Twenty-seven percent of diabetes cases in the United States are undiagnosed; if you're 45 or older, get tested every three years. In the meantime, keep an eye out for velvety, brownish gray patches of skin—called acanthosis nigricans—under your arms, on the back of your neck, and around the groin. This kind of discoloration is associated with abnormal insulin levels. The earlier you detect a problem, the faster you can solve it.

Get Better Shut-eye
Because insulin levels are strongly linked to melatonin (the sleep hormone), interrupted z's can cause fluctuations in blood sugar. In addition, sleep deprivation leads to cravings for high-calorie, high-carb (diabetes-danger) foods—as you may remember from your last all-nighter. Practice good sleep hygiene: Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and avoid watching TV or surfing the Web while you're under the covers. If you need a reason to get more rest, protecting yourself from diabetes is a great one.

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