How To Stabilize Your Blood Sugar Overnight
The most important thing you can do to stabilize your blood sugar is monitor your glucose levels at bedtime, during the night, and when you wake up to look for patterns. This will help you determine whats going on in your body and how you can fix it. While there are many strategies people use to stabilize blood sugar at night, every person is different youll have to look for trends in your body, experiment with ways to lower glucose levels over a period of time, and learn what works best for your body.
Check your blood sugar before bed. If its already high, your blood sugar levels may remain high throughout the night. To address this, youll want to start by adjusting when you eat your evening meal and what it consists of, and how much mealtime insulin you take to cover it.
Avoid eating lots of food close to bedtime. For diaTribe writer Adam Brown, the key to staying in range overnight is low-carb, early dinners, with no snacking after dinner.
Consider eating less food at night and taking more basal insulin to cover your evening meal.
Check your blood sugar during the night, between midnight and 3am. If you were in range before bed but have high glucose levels between midnight and 3am, you may need to adjust your basal insulin dosage and timing. If you are low during that time, you may experience a rebound high blood sugar later on this is usually associated with overcorrecting the low.
How Can You Control Your Morning Blood Sugar Levels
Still, if you want to try and control your morning fasting blood sugar level, you should stick to following habits
- Do some moderate-intensity exercise or a brisk walk in the evening
- Have your last meal of the day before 7:30 pm
- Avoid grains in dinner
- Mix 2 tsp of Apple cider vinegar with 20 tsp of water and drink it
- Consume at least 50% greens, including raw and cooked in your dinner
- Climb stairs after dinner
Understand Nutrition And Adjust Your Diet
What you choose to eat and drink can have a major impact on not only your waistline, mood, and well-being, but also on your blood sugar levels.
All macronutrients can affect the blood sugar to some degree so developing a good understanding of how they affect your blood sugar will enable you to be proactive and prevent blood sugar swings.
Carbohydrates have the greatest impact on your blood sugar, which is why many people with diabetes can benefit from following a low- to medium-carb diet . The fewer carbs you eat, the less insulin you need to take, which makes diabetes management easier.
However, you dont have to follow a low-carb diet if it doesnt work for you physically or mentally. As I wrote in my post about which diet is best for people with diabetes, it is very possible to have great blood sugar control on a medium carb diet, as long as you experiment, take notes, and learn to take the right amounts of insulin for the carbs you are eating.
It is very important to realize that we all react differently to carbs so you have to find the diet and foods that are right for you.
As an example, people react very differently to carbs like oats or sweet potato. Some people can eat oats with only a small increase in blood sugar while others see a quick spike. By simply knowing this, people struggling with a certain type of carb can choose to reduce their consumption or cut it out of their diet altogether.
Protein & fats
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Blood Sugar Basics: What Is Blood Sugar
The term blood sugar refers to the sugar, or glucose, that is floating around in your bloodstream at any given time. Blood sugar, or blood glucose is the main source of sugar found in your blood, and comes from the food you eat. I
f you are monitoring your blood sugar, it is important to keep these numbers in check according to the American Diabetes Association .
Your blood sugar needs to be in the right range for you to be healthy. At least some glucose is necessary for your muscle, liver, and some other cells to use as fuel so they can function.
At least some sugar is necessary for your cells and organs to function properly. When our blood sugar levels get too low, it is called hypoglycemia. Without enough glucose as fuel, we lose the ability to function normally. This can make us feel weak, dizzy, and sweaty. And it can even lead to loss of consciousness.
On the other hand, blood sugar levels that get too high are also harmful, this is called hyperglycemia. Our blood sugar levels can get too high when we dont have enough insulin, or when our insulin isnt working well. This is the case for people who have prediabetes or diabetes. If it isnt treated, high blood sugar can lead to serious problems that can be deadly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that keeping blood sugar levels in the target range is vital. It can help us prevent serious health concerns like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease, for example.
My Perspective On A1c As A Person Living With Diabetes
I have a very ambivalent relationship with my A1c myself. Ive been living with type 1 diabetes for over 20 years, and my A1c is not something I think about in my daily life. However, every three months when I see my endo, I get a little anxious because receiving your A1c can feel a lot like getting your diabetes report card.
And, quite honestly, thats really silly. My A1c number doesnt reflect whats been going on in my life for the last three months. It doesnt tell me how much effort Ive put into managing my diabetes and it does not define me as a person. Its a good source of information, nothing more.
Still, we tend to look at it and judge, good or bad, how weve done with our diabetes management. But we really shouldnt!
That doesnt mean that I think we shouldnt get our A1c checked. I absolutely think we should, but we also need to understand what it means as well as why we should look beyond the A1c number. I hope this guide has given you the knowledge and tools to do so!
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Agree On Specific Target Ranges With The Diabetes Team
Sit down with a member of your diabetes health care team and discuss a range of blood glucose targets that are considered reasonable and realistic, given age, lifestyle and health considerations.
You should have a clear understanding of which numbers are considered too high or too low. It should also be clear what actions need to be taken if these numbers occur.
What Are Target Blood Sugar Levels For People With Diabetes
A target is something that you aim for or try to reach. Your health care team may also use the term goal. People with diabetes have blood sugar targets that they try to reach at different times of the day. These targets are:
- Right before your meal: 80 to 130
- Two hours after the start of the meal: Below 180
Talk with your health care team about what blood sugar numbers are right for you.
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Blood Sugar Levels In Children With Diabetes:
What Is The A1c Test
The A1C test is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 2 or 3 months. The test is done at a lab or your doctors office in addition tonot instead ofregular blood sugar testing you do yourself.
A1C testing is part of the ABCs of diabetesimportant steps you can take to prevent or delay health complications down the road:
- A: Get a regular A1C test.
- B: Try to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg .
- C: Manage your cholesterol levels.
- s: Stop smoking or dont start.
The A1C goal for most adults with diabetes is between 7% and 8%, but your goal may be different depending on your age, other health conditions, medicines youre taking, and other factors. Work with your doctor to establish a personal A1C goal for you.
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What Does Normal Blood Sugar Look Like
First, a quick note on how we measure blood sugar. In the USA, blood sugars are measured by weight in milligrams per deciliter, abbreviated as mg/dL. Most everyone else uses millimoles per liter, abbreviated mmol/L. If you are in the USA, look at the big numbers. Most everyone else should look at the small numbers.
In a person without diabetes, blood sugars tend to stay mostly between 70 and 100 mg/dL . After a meal, and depending on the composition of the meal, blood sugars can rise up to 120-140 mg/dL or 6.7-7.8 mmol/L. It will typically fall back into the normal range within two hours.
These are normal blood sugars in someone without diabetes. Source: Thriving with Diabetes
What Causes High Morning Blood Sugars
Two main culprits prompt morning highs: the dawn phenomenon and waning insulin. A third, much rarer cause, known as the Somogyi effect, may also be to blame.
The occasional morning high will have little impact on your A1C, a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time that indicates how well managed your diabetes is. But if those highs become consistent, they could push your A1C up into dangerous territory.
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How Do You Feel When Your Blood Sugar Is High
Signs and symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Frequent Urination
Depending on on how your blood sugar level is, you may not notice any of the above symptoms.
The best way to know if youre high is to check your blood sugar. If the reading seems to be a sudden high make sure to recheck your blood sugar to confirm that your blood sugar is truly elevated on occasion your meter could give you a false reading.
What You Ate The Night Before
There is research suggesting that a high fat, high calorie meal can cause increased liver glucose production and temporary elevated fasting glucose levels. The increase in free fatty acids from that meal can impair insulin sensitivity and increase glucose production. This effect is especially pronounced if you combine high fat + high carbohydrate + high calorie, which is a common formula found in foods such as pizza, ice cream, fried food, etc.
In fact, the high-fat + high-carb + high-calorie phenomenon is something we consistently see in the CGM data from our users. Our Director of Nutrition, Kara Collier, made this observation while on the Fundamental Health podcast:
âA refined carbohydrate plus a refined oil, this is every snack food that has ever existedâ¦and this food, when you have the combination of refined carbohydrate and refined oil, it creates a huge area under the curve. The fat slows down digestion, but you still have the refined carbohydrate in your system so your body is processing it for a long timeâ¦hese sort of meals lead to a massive area under the curve because your body is processing this huge load of carbohydrates/glucose and itâs stressful on the cell and the mitochondria.â
When Kara refers to the âarea under the curveâ, she is referring to the amount of time that your body is in a state of high blood glucose.
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How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
What Is The Somogyi Effect
A second possible cause of high blood sugar levels in the morning is the Somogyi effect, sometimes also called rebound hyperglycemia. It was named after the doctor who first wrote about it.
If your blood sugar drops too low in the middle of the night while you are sleeping, your body will release hormones in an attempt to rescue you from the dangerously low blood sugar. The hormones do this by prompting your liver to release stored glucose in larger amounts than usual. But this system isnt perfect in a person with diabetes, so the liver releases more sugar than needed which leads to a high blood sugar level in the morning. This is the Somogyi effect.
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What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
- Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
- Control your food portions .
Normal Range Of Blood Sugar Levels
The normal range of blood glucose levels for individuals with diabetes is between 80 and 130 milligrams per deciliter . When levels are too low, the person may experience hypoglycemia, which is characterized by shakiness, sweating, dizziness, or confusion. When blood sugar levels are too high, the person may experience hyperglycemia, which is characterized as extreme thirst and urination and blurred vision. Blood glucose levels can be checked by pricking a finger to get a drop of blood and putting it on a glucose meter.
The normal blood sugar range is between 80-120 mg/dL .
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Symptoms Of High Or Low Blood Sugar
When the person has low blood sugar, they may experience hypoglycemia which can be characterized by-
- Dry mouth
People with type 2 diabetes may experience symptoms of high or low blood sugar. The levels can be checked by pricking a finger to get a drop of blood and putting it on a glucose meter.
Levels In The Morning
The best time to check blood sugar levels in the morning is right when you wake up and before you eat anything. This gives you a glimpse of what may be happening overnight, and it gives you a baseline for the day.
These are goal levels, according to The Joslin Diabetes Center:
- Under 70 mg/dl if you do not have diabetes.
- 70 to 130 mg/dl if you have diabetes.
The dawn effect can often lead to a high morning measurement in diabetes. This is your bodys tendency to get ready for the day by raising blood sugar by increasing levels of counter-regulatory hormones the ones that counteract insulin as in normal blood sugar. For people with diabetes, you do not have the capacity to counterbalance this rise in blood sugar, so levels can be dangerously high.
Ways to lower your morning blood sugar value include:
- Eating dinner earlier
- Checking your medications making sure you are taking them properly and asking your doctor if they are correct
- Going for a walk after dinner
- Including protein with your dinner
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What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Is High Or Low
High blood sugar can harm you. If your blood sugar is high, you need to know how to bring it down. Here are some questions to ask yourself if your blood sugar is high.
- Are you eating too much or too little? Have you been following your diabetes meal plan?
- Are you taking your diabetes medicines correctly?
- Has your provider changed your medicines?
- Is your insulin expired? Check the date on your insulin.
- Has your insulin been exposed to very high or very low temperatures?
- If you take insulin, have you been taking the correct dose? Are you changing your syringes or pen needles?
- Are you afraid of having low blood sugar? Is that causing you to eat too much or take too little insulin or other diabetes medicine?
- Have you injected insulin into a firm, numb, bumpy, or overused area? Have you been rotating sites?
- Have you been less or more active than usual?
- Do you have a cold, flu, or another illness?
- Have you had more stress than usual?
- Have you been checking your blood sugar every day?
- Have you gained or lost weight?