Stabilizing bedtime blood sugars is not only a good safety measure, but it serves as an effective sleep enhancer as well. Whether its your spouse, child or yourself with type 1 diabetes, bedtime blood sugars can be a serious sleep disruptor.
Fortunately, most people with type 1 diabetes will awaken when their blood sugar plummets (hypoglycemia). People with diabetes may describe having weird dreams prior to awakening with hypoglycemia.
See She Sugar’s article “Hypoglycemia and Dreams”
Other incidental occurrences such as a fast heart rate, hunger, sweating, or a general feeling of restlessness is enough to wake one from a sound sleep. However, some people won’t awaken with symptoms because of hypoglycemia unawareness and may experience a loss of consciousness or a seizure.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- slurred speech
- problems focusing
- silly/hyper behavior (in children particularly)
- glassy eyes
- rapid heart beat
- loss of consciousness/ seizure
If one does happen to wake up and realize they are low, danger may still lurk in the dark until they treat their hypoglycemia. With bedtime blood sugars confusion may be heightened more than during the daytime. Simply waking up and walking to the kitchen may drain the last of the sugar in their gas tank and the person with type 1 diabetes may unfortunately experience a seizure.
What do you do if a seizure occurs?
A seizure due to low bedtime blood sugars is a medical emergency. Calling 911 and giving glucagon as instructed by your care provider are critical pieces in resolving this type of low blood sugar. For more information on glucagon, see She Sugar’s article “Glucagon 101″.
How can you keep bedtime blood sugars stable?
- Having a snack that is low carb and has significant protein and fat to hold blood sugars overnight is important, particularly in children. We find that a full fat greek yogurt works well for that purpose in our house.
- Utilizing technology such as a continuous glucose monitor is tremendously helpful. Our family pick is Dexcom’s CGM.
- Checking a blood sugar 2 hours after dinner insulin is given tends to give a clearer picture of how things may roll for you overnight. I don’t like to tuck myself or my daughter in without this 2 hour post prandial check.
- If there are frequent low blood sugars overnight insulin doses may need to be adjusted (basal rates and doses of long acting insulin) with the help of your diabetes provider.