Sleep and Diabetes; How to get a good night’s sleep


A good night’s sleep is not easy for a type 1 diabetic. So many things can go wrong while you sleep and to complicate things further, you’re unable to monitor glucose (unless you’ve go a CGMS!).  A huge chunk of our life is spent sleeping and if glucose is controlled almost perfectly during sleep, this means a huge chunk of our life is spent with almost perfect glucose control! How great is that?

So here are my rules for myself which I use to make it happen.

1.  Never plan to eat something you need to give fast acting insulin for within 2 hours of bedtime. Why? Because fast acting insulin lasts 2 hours. If you don’t give enough, you’re blood sugar will climb throughout the night and leave you feeling tired and sick in the morning. (Not to mention, unequipped to get out of bed and get an energetic start to your day). If you give too much insulin, you’re blood sugar can dangerously drop while you sleep. If you are lucky like myself, you will awaken with low blood sugar but, lets not rely on luck, any of us may one day not wake up and instead suffer a hypoglycemic seizure-or worse.

2.  Test your basal rate. This is super important. If you’re basal rate or whatever you use as a basal, such as a lantus injection is off, then you will only struggle with your blood sugars each night. To test this you could choose a friday or saturday night. Don’t give insulin within 3 hours of going to bed and check before you fall asleep-make sure you start off with ideal glucose. Have your alarm set for 2 hours after your bedtime. Then wake up at that time and test your glucose. Set your alarm again for another 2 hours and test then, as well. Continue testing your glucose every 2 hours until it is your time to get up for good. Now analyze what you’ve got. Is your glucose steady? Or is it climbing up or down during the night? Make tiny necessary adjustments as needed and test this way again to see what you get. If you feel nervous about doing this on your own, talk to your doctor and together you can figure out how you might make an adjustment. Do keep in mind any out of the ordinary activities within 24 hours of this test may change your results so try to have an average day before doing this test. This brings us to my next tip.

3. Get in a little bit of a routine.  When it comes to exercise, eating, and sleeping, I highly recommend trying to do each in a routine manor. You don’t have to do the same exercise every day but, try to do it at the same time every day. You don’t have to eat the same thing for breakfast each day but, try to keep some consistency with what time you eat and how much you eat. If lunch is your big meal of the day, keep it that way, don’t suddenly have a tiny lunch and a huge dinner.

In regards to sleep, I must admit I sleep in on the weekend (well I did, before my babies were born anyway). Does this mean I give my lantus shot a couple hours later than usual on Saturday and Sunday mornings? Nope! I set the alarm and make sure I give that shot at the same time every day. I keep my breakfast low carb every day (one or two eggs) and have found this makes it easy for me to keep glucose numbers steady during morning hours, all 7 days of the week.

If you love routine, then let me just say, great! Use that advantage! If not, then do what I do– Plan some spontaneity!

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