One thing that we as Type 1 Diabetics often worry about is going to sleep. I have experienced myself, as well as heard other Diabetics discuss how sleeping can be one of the most stressful things as a Diabetic because we are always unsure what to expect. What we worry about is not waking up in the morning as a result from a severe low blood sugar, ripping our pump sites out as we toss and turn in bed, then waking up with a high blood sugar due to no insulin going through all night, or just about anything else you can think of relating to Diabetes in the night. But that shouldn’t be the case. Sleeping at the end of the day should be a time to unwind and rest from the busy day prior. Everyone has their days when they are constantly on the go and working so hard that when they come home at night, sleep is an essential to healthy living. There are things that we can do, to the best of our ability, to ensure a peaceful sleep and a restful night.
After living with T1D for so many years and knowing your own unique and individual sleeping pattern and Diabetes routine, going to bed is much more relaxing and you are able to worry less. It just takes time and practice. I can remember countless times in which I would wake up from a low blood sugar at 4 AM and run downstairs, practically eat the whole kitchen as it is a common feeling to be so hungry and in a state of panic, to bring me back up from that horrific low. That is just me, but some others may not be responsive to lows in the middle of the night, as well as highs. In that case, having different ways to ensure you’ll wake up can include having a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to make a loud alert when you do go low or high, having someone close by to your room at night to check on you every once in a while, or setting an alarm to wake you up every few hours to check and monitor your blood sugars. Any of these scenarios can be essential in ensuring a safe and peaceful night.
I can remember countless times in which I would wake up from a low blood sugar at 4 AM and run downstairs, practically eat the whole kitchen…
I have struggled recently with waking up in the morning feeling terribly sick and nauseous, with a headache and all, resulting in me having to put off my plans for the day until a later hour, having a slow start to my morning, or even just being foggy minded and unfocused for a few hours into the day. That was all getting to me and I didn’t know truly why that was happening. I figured that it must have had something to do with my blood sugars. I reached out to the Diabetic community over Instagram and asked if anyone has ever experienced those symptoms and how they handled them. After receiving so many helpful tips and advice, it came down to these helpful tips!
- Drinking plenty of water (16oz-32oz) right before bed, as well as right away when you wake up, can help cleanse and support blood sugar regulation throughout the night and morning.
- Avoid eating (especially foods high in carbs/sugars) late at night before bed, it can be one of the worst things you can do if you are trying to get a good night sleep as highs and lows are affecting your sleep and extra insulin could result in severe lows at night.
- Eat a dinner high in protein to help stabilize the blood sugars throughout the night and keep them in a steady range, reducing the amount of blood sugar fluctuations during your sleep.
- Drink some decaf tea before bed, such as green tea or chamomile, to put the body in a state of peace and relaxation as it can help steady your blood sugars at night.
Real talk, always be prepared for the worst. Make sure to always have a fast acting form of glucose, such as juice or glucose tablets nearby at night and within range, just in case you were to wake up low in the middle of the night. Also, make sure to have water close by to help treat high blood sugars if that were to be the case. Have your phone next to you and have someone in mind whom you can call in case of a Diabetic related emergency at night. These are just some things to keep in mind and always have with you, whether you are sleeping at home, on vacation, or taking a nap on an airplane, because us Diabetics get tired pretty quickly, so sleeping can happen just about anywhere honestly.
Per usual, everybody is different, so I can’t guarantee these tips and tricks will work for everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a try as we are constantly reminded by our doctors and other health care specialists that these are the main ways to get a good night sleep as a Diabetic. These are just some different tools and tricks I have used in my 9 years of being a Type 1 Diabetic as I sleep and they have helped me tremendously. Though I still struggle from time to time and have nights where I am terrified to go to sleep, not knowing what to expect, I try my best every night to do what I know is right in terms of maintaining my numbers and that’s all I can really do for myself.
So don’t stress your sleeping routine all because of your Diabetes, it will be just fine and you will be able to conquer many nights in which Diabetes is just a thought, but sleep is so important in healthy living as a Diabetic.
So go ahead, sleep the night away and count those sheep!