Most of my low blood sugars come up at night. Because I am a type 1 diabetic I have to take two types of insulin: one fast acting and one slow release. Every now and then I will wake up in the middle of the night shaky and without any energy—signs of low blood sugar. I start to feel symptoms when my blood sugar is below 90, though it is different for each person.
My first experience with a low blood sugar was very dramatic. It was the first week I had gotten home from the hospital, essentially my first week on my own. I woke up a little after midnight sweating, shaking, and extremely hungry. It was difficult to walk so I held my hands out on each side against the wall. I finally made it to the kitchen and opened a jar of apple sauce. After several spoonfuls of apple sauce I started to feel a little better. My heart was still racing and it was difficult to breathe, so I laid down on the couch. After about fifteen minutes I finally started to return to normal. My mom sat next to me and rubbed my back until I was feeling myself again.
The next morning my mom wanted to call my doctor to make sure everything was OK. After talking to her, we both felt better. My doctor gave me some good suggestions for keeping my blood sugar stable during the night.
It’s important to remember not to eat a meal high in fat or sugars for dinner. Most nights you should try to skip dessert. Instead you can try having some fruit. Some suggest that you should have a snack after dinner that is low-carb. I aim for ten carbs or less for my late night snacks. A good snack can be a few crackers with some peanut butter or a handful of cashews and some string cheese.
Always be sure to check your blood sugar before you go to sleep. I prefer mine to be about 100. If your blood sugar is high be careful—you may experience a high and then low from your correction. You may want to set an alarm to check your blood sugar in the middle of the night to assure that it has gone down, but isn’t getting too low!
Every now and then when I wake up with a low blood sugar I will have a glass of milk and a piece of toast. It’s usually best to have more than 15 carbs to get your blood sugar to stabilize.
The best way to ensure your sugar levels are stable (especially when you don’t have the pump) is to check, check, check! So naturally, my blood sugar meter is my best friend. Make sure you’re consistent with your testing!