The fear of sleep with diabetes

Guest post from Georgia Hall

It’s hard to explain the immense fear of going to sleep some nights. No matter what your most recent Blood Glucose Level (BGL) was, there is always that massive cloud of the ‘unknown’ hovering over you at night. Sometimes I don’t freak out, most of the time I don’t and we all know I have my slight case of OCD and my tendency to plan & pre plan, but I don’t think there is one night I go to sleep without re-checking my BGL or wondering what could happen (ok, so maybe I think too much).

It’s really scary when you think about it, if you’re BGL drops in the middle of the night and your body doesn’t wake you, what happens? This was one thing that really stunned me. One instance I can remember was that at a random 2am one night I woke up, as if my body knew, I checked my BGL and it read 2mmol (which is low – for anyone).

My fellow diabetes friends would know those sleepy trips to the fridge to raid as much sugar as you can far too well. Surprisingly it’s not as fun as it may seem, eating unlimited sugar when you would rather be sleeping. There have been far too many times when I’ve fallen asleep on the couch and before doing so I set an alarm to check just in case I fell asleep without checking my BGL before bed (I know, I’m a crazy person).

But it’s the things you have to do to make yourself feel safe and secure. It is terrifying sometimes, especially when you have a day when nothing has made sense with your levels (believe me, it happens) and you don’t know what on earth can happen when it’s out of your control while you sleep. So it isn’t a common occurrence, but there are some tragic stories out there, however if you focus on the positive, positivity shoots back in to your life right?

All I know is I do overthink, the other night I woke up with my eyes wide awake because in my dream my BGL was –Tmmol – I have no idea what that means, all I knew was that it was enough to wake me – and my BGL reading was perfectly normal in the morning, so who knows what it meant. I hope you all sleep easy tonight & every night. Every day I wake, it’s a miracle to be alive, because I made it through the night. Sweet dreams, literally!


1 Comment

  1. how_di on May 14, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for your post Georgia!  

    I too feel the same, especially this week.  Having moved up to Darwin for  6 months away from friends and family I am often troubled by night time hypos, even since changing to my pump.  
    I always wake up, but it makes it feel like I’ve run a marathon in the morning.  Then it’s a rush to get to work!  
    It’s funny how things that happened more than 12 hrs earlier (i.e. exercise, eating quinoa or simply miscalculating a carb bolus) can set you up for a rough night sometimes.  
    Since going on a pump last July, the use of CGM sensor had saved me many times, where it automatically suspends and I have woken up with it alarming with the display “I have diabetes, please call 000”.  I may not have woken up without it suspending many hours earlier!!!

    Unfortunately I have not been able to access the sensors up here (company doesn’t reply to my messages/emails and the few I had left fall off within 30 min d/t humidity).  

    I am looking forward to coming back to Adelaide in August where hopefully I can access the sensors again and begin to have a normal sleep again (despite having 2 annoying but life-changing things stuck to my body).  

    As we all know you can’t expect someone without diabetes to understand it is on our minds every minute of every day (even in our sleep).  

    All we can do is try to control our sugars as much as we can, even when we are asleep.  

    Cheers.  Di