What Happens To Blood Sugar While You Sleep
Itâs tied to whether the hormone insulin, which removes glucose from the blood, is working the way itâs supposed to. Blood sugar levels surge while youâre sleeping, usually around 4 to 8 a.m. for someone with a normal sleep schedule. In a healthy person, insulin can handle the surge by telling muscle, fat, and liver cells to absorb the glucose from the blood, which keeps your levels stable.
For people who have diabetes or who are likely to get it, insulin canât do that job very well, so blood sugar levels will rise higher.
Smart Sleep Solutions For Diabetics
The bad news is that having type 2 diabetes can lead to several complications that can make adequate sleep harder to come by. The good news? Since doctors know so much about the things that can cause sleep problems for diabetics, there are plenty of solutions that may help you snooze better.
If you have sleep apnea, finding a treatment option that works for you can lead to more restful sleep. For many people, that means getting fitted for a CPAP machine that helps keep your airway open, eliminating snoring or disruptive pauses in breathing. If youre overweight, losing weight may help ease sleep-stealing snoring, too.
Conditions like peripheral neuropathy and restless leg syndrome can often be managed with medication. If you experience pain in your legs or feet, your doctor can help you find a pain reliever to eradicate the discomfort or make it more tolerable.
Muscle relaxers or medications that boost dopamine levels in the brain can help with restless leg syndrome, too. However, since RLS is often associated with too-high blood sugar, managing your blood sugar may be another way to ease symptoms.
Perhaps most important of all? If you have diabetes and are experiencing sleep problems, talk with your doctor. Together, the two of you can develop a strategy to help you better manage your conditionwhile achieving the rest that you need.
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What Is High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar occurs when theres a buildup of excess glucose in the bloodstream. This is more often a concern for someone with diabetes than it is for someone without it. Our bodies are typically pretty great at keeping our blood sugar in perfect balance, Deena Adimoolam, M.D., assistant professor of endocrinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. But in some situations, like when a person has diabetes, high blood sugar can happen.
Blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter , and a fasting blood sugar of greater than 125 mg/dL is considered hyperglycemic, the Cleveland Clinic says. A person can also be considered to have hyperglycemia if their blood glucose level is higher than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after eating, the Cleveland Clinic says.
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The Dawn Phenomenon And How To Prevent It
If you have type-1 or type-2 diabetes, there are a couple of things you can do to prevent the blood sugar rush at the early hours of the morning:
- A snack before bed. You might not be too eager, but a cracker with cheese before bed will keep your blood sugar steady during the night.
- Go to bed at regular hours. Easier said than done, but doctors recommend a thorough bed routine for people with diabetes . Your body adapts to the circumstances and learns to control your sugar levels.
- A little light exercise after supper. Just walking a dog or some yoga is enough to make you go fall asleep faster.
And, of course
- Check your blood glucose levels. Its important to keep your eye on them regularly. If youre going to bed, they should be in a range of 90-150 milligrams per deciliter. If you notice them varying too much, contacting your doctor is the best advice anyone can give.
How To Treat Someone Who’s Having A Seizure Or Fit
Follow these steps if someone has a seizure or fit caused by a low blood sugar level:
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.
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How Does Lack Of Sleep Raise Your Risk
Itâs hard to know for certain. Many studies have suggested that short sleepers have irregular eating habits, snack more, and are more likely to eat unhealthy foods.
Other research has found that shortchanging sleep can directly affect how the body makes other hormones, which in turn affect blood sugar. For example, when you stay up late, your body makes more of the hormone cortisol, which affects how insulin works.
Also, growing evidence shows that disrupting your bodyâs biological clock by being awake at night can make your cells more resistant to insulin. In one study, researchers altered the circadian rhythms of 16 healthy volunteers by allowing only 5 hours of sleep each night for 5 nights, much like a sleep-deprived workweek. When those volunteers ate food at night — a time when the body isnât biologically prepared for a spike in blood sugar — their bodies didnât use insulin normally.
What Are The Risks Of Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia can be a sign that your body isnt getting enough insulin. It is normal for patients with T1D to get hyperglycemia, and most of the time this is simply treated with insulin. If the body does not have insulin for approximately 8 hours, you could develop a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.
In DKA, your body breaks down fat for energy because it doesnt have enough insulin to use the sugar in your blood. This produces chemicals called ketones, which make your blood more acidic.
DKA is dangerous. Too much acid in your blood can make you pass out or even cause death.
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Preventing A Low Blood Sugar Level
If you have diabetes, you can reduce your chance of getting a low blood sugar level if you:
- Check your blood sugar level regularly and be aware of the symptoms of a low blood sugar level so you can treat it quickly.
- Always carry a sugary snack or drink with you, such as glucose tablets, a carton of fruit juice or some sweets. If you have a glucagon injection kit, always keep it with you.
- Do not skip meals.
- Be careful when drinking alcohol. Do not drink large amounts, check your blood sugar level regularly, and eat a carbohydrate snack afterwards.
- Be careful when exercising eating a carbohydrate snack before exercise can help to reduce the risk of a hypo. If you take some types of diabetes medicine, your doctor may recommend you take a lower dose before or after doing intense exercise.
- Have a carbohydrate snack, such as toast, if your blood sugar level drops too low while you’re asleep
If you keep getting a low blood sugar level, talk to your diabetes care team about things you can do to help prevent it.
What Is A Blood Sugar Crash
Before we dive into the science behind a blood sugar crash, hereâs a quick recap of what happens when you eat something containing carbohydrates.
Your body breaks down the carbohydrates in your food into its glucose building blocks, which pass into your bloodstream. Your blood sugar levels begin to rise, prompting your body to release insulin. In turn, this triggers your cells to take up the glucose to use for generating energy, swiftly returning your blood sugar levels to normal.
This is a perfectly normal process that happens in all of us, whatever we eat, and protects your body from the harmful effects of high blood sugar .
But when your blood sugar increases very steeply after eating, your body can release too much insulin, making your blood sugar plummet below normal levels. This is technically referred to as postprandial hypoglycemia or reactive hypoglycemia, but itâs commonly called a blood sugar âcrashâ.
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Why Does Having Diabetes Cause Fatigue
Having diabetes changes your blood. Imagine someone without diabetes having blood that flows like water. Now imagine someone with diabetes having blood that flows like maple syrup. When the blood flows much thicker and slower, like syrup, it is harder for cells to flow through the bloodstream to provide energy and oxygen to parts of the body, including the brain.
Diabetes also causes inflammation, which sends messages to the brain that the body needs to take a rest in order to heal. When this happens, fatigue is going to be a problem.
One of the biggest reasons that diabetes causes fatigue is because of its complications. Organs such as the kidneys, eyes, heart, and the nerves can all be damaged because of diabetes. End stage renal disease, which is when the kidneys fail, can lead to low red blood cells. Low red blood cells, which is also known as anemia, can lead to fatigue. Studies have shown that people with diabetic complications such as nerve damage, heart disease, and kidney problems have increased levels of fatigue. The next section of this article discussed more things that can cause fatigue.
Keep Your Sugars In Check
For morning tiredness, always check fasting blood sugar and 3:00 am blood sugar levels.
As already mentioned above, one of the main causes of tiredness after waking up in the morning might be due to high fasting blood sugar and weakness at around 3:00 am could be due to a drop in blood sugar at that time.
In such cases, follow the guidelines mentioned above, under the first point of diabetes fatigue management.
A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving
You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or you’re at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but you’ll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while you’re driving.
You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.
For more information, see:
Sugar And Its Affect On Sleep
The more sugar you consume, the more that it will affect your bodys ability to get in some quality sleep. While you sleep, your body goes through different levels of deep rest, and the most rejuvenating level is called rapid eye movement sleep .
The more sugar you have before bed, the less of a chance you have of staying in deep Rapid Eye movement sleep. Even if you do not fully wake up during the night, it can pull you out of REM sleep, affecting the sensations of feeling well-rested in the morning.
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Consult Your Doctor When
A high dose of an anti-diabetic drug can lead to a low blood sugar episode. As it could also be one of the reasons for your weakness, your anti-diabetic drug may need to be changed. This will require you to consult your doctor.
Even when blood sugar levels are under control, you must go for your follow-ups as scheduled so that your Doctor is well aware of your health condition and can plan the next steps as required.
Signs Of High Blood Sugar
Someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes will be familiar with how it feels to have hyperglycemia. But for the millions of people who have diabetes or prediabetes and are unaware of it, knowing the signs of high blood sugar could prompt them to seek care and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.
While type 1 diabetes symptoms can come on suddenly and severely, its important to note that type 2 diabetes symptoms can creep up gradually and be so mild that theyre not noticeable, the NIDDK explains. And most people with prediabetes actually have no symptoms, per the NIDDK. So its extremely important to get screened if you have risk factors, like having a family history, being overweight, or being over age 45, the NIDDK says.
Still, there are many potential signs of high blood sugar in the short and long term that it doesnt hurt to be conscious of, especially if you are at elevated risk.
Early on, hyperglycemia can make you feel off in a variety of ways:
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How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself
Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 4mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:
You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.
But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.
Avoiding The Blood Sugar Slump
While giving in to your craving for a Snickers might seem like the right thing to do when youâre in the midst of a blood sugar crash, your sugary snack will only give you a temporary fix before leaving you feeling low again. The best way to dodge a sugar slump is to avoid the foods that cause them. Instead, pick foods that keep your blood sugar relatively steady.
Avoiding sugary drinks and snacks is probably sound advice for everyone seeking better control over their blood sugar. But some experts advise highly restrictive diets that limit all carbohydrates. However, studies have shown that diets high in carbohydrates from plants can improve blood sugar control after eating by increasing the activity of gut microbes, which protect against unhealthy blood sugar reactions.
Rather than avoiding certain food groups, like carbohydrates, we advise eating a varied diet tailored to your unique biology. After all, our PREDICT-1 study has shown us that the same foods can cause different blood sugar responses in different people, so there is no one-size-fits-all advice for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
To understand what causes your sugar crashes, and how you can avoid them and maintain your energy levels, you need to know how YOUR body responds to food. You are unique, and your diet should be too.
But how can you know what foods are best for your body? That’s where the ZOE program comes in.
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Prevalence And Impact Of Chronic Fatigue
A significantly higher percentage of T1DM patients were chronically fatigued than matched controls . Mean fatigue severity was also significantly higher in T1DM patients compared with matched controls . T1DM patients with a comorbidity_mr or clinically relevant depressive symptoms were significantly more often chronically fatigued than patients without a comorbidity_mr or without clinically relevant depressive symptoms . Patients who reported neuropathy, nephropathy, or cardiovascular disease as complications of diabetes were more often chronically fatigued .
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How To Treat Someone Whos Unconscious Or Very Sleepy
Follow these steps:
They may need to go to hospital if theyre being sick , or their blood sugar level drops again.
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to lose consciousness.
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How Does Hyperglycemia Happen
Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use the sugar in your blood, which comes primarily from carbohydrates in the food that you eat. Hyperglycemia happens when your body has too little insulin to use the sugar in your blood.
People with type 1 diabetes can have episodes of hyperglycemia every day. Although this can be frustrating, it rarely creates a medical emergency. Not taking enough insulin can lead to hyperglycemia .
Other things that can cause hyperglycemia include:
- Having trouble seeing or concentrating
- Experiencing stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Having sweet-smelling or fruity breath
- Cuts or sores that do not heal, infections, and unexplained weight loss may also be signs of long-term hyperglycemia.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is very high, you should also test for ketones in either your blood or urine.