« What's Best. | Main | CGM Sensibilities. »

Sleep Deprivation.

When I was in college, I carried a full load of credits every semester and also worked a full-time job as a waitress.  My life was a swirl of 6 am breakfast shifts, afternoon classes, and closing the restaurant at night, not to mention the ridiculous parties we threw on the weekends. 

Needless to say, my hours spent sleeping were limited.  But for some reason, I functioned without too much issue.  (I should also add that during these ridiculously scheduled days, my A1c was dancing around the edges of double digits and my parents were in the middle of a very tumultuous divorce, so my physical and emotional heath were not at their respective bests.)

I'm several years past college at this point, yet still keeping the same kind of schedule.  I'm up early for work, spending nine hours at my job, hitting the gym on weeknights, and staying up late to work/watch movies/hang out with Chris/dine out/whatever.  Most often, my head connects with my pillow past midnight and the alarms start clanging around 7:15 in the morning.  The biggest difference this round is that I'm a. not drinking nearly as much and b. my A1c is tighter.

The sleep debt is starting to affect my credit.  ;)

I've had some trouble sleeping for the past week, thanks to alarming CGMs, pathetically meowing little gray cats, the power of a late night cup of coffee, and the thoughts being tumble-dried in my brain at all times.  Last night, I worked on some freelance projects until almost midnight, then spent three hours dealing with a lingering low blood sugar that refused to budge (and the CGM refused to stop bleating at me).  Was it the intensity of my run yesterday afternoon?  Is it the fact that I was back on the hormones in my birth control pill?  Is the the fact that I have a wedding gown fitting this weekend and can't stop thinking about it?  Was it the project I was immersed in last night, my brain excitedly churning out new ideas? 

Whatever the reason for my insomnia, it's taking a toll on my diabetes.  Even though it seems to be "all the rage" to be a twenty-something who crams everything she can into a 24 hour day, I don't know if this pace is something I can keep up.  Taking a spin through the 24 memory on my MiniLink, I see that I'm normal-to-low all night long, then taking a sharp spin into the oblivion of the 200 mg/dl range around 10 am and hovering there for about two hours.  Hmmmm.  I'm not going to react to this until I see it a few more times, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on. 

Sleepless nights cause distracted days for me.  I'm getting my work done and burning through my to-do list, but I'm not feeling very creative.  I'm also having a harder time reacting to my numbers.  MiniLink beeps that I'm over 160 mg/dl and I clear the alarm but don't check the insulin-on-board and lace in a correction dose, if necessary.  I'm just plodding along, drenched with apathy and craving a nap.  It's like diabetes is just a blip on my sleepy radar. 

Tonight, I will go to bed early, task-list be damned.  And I'll be bright-eyed and inspired for tomorrow, ready to deal with all the curve balls that life, including diabetes, can toss my way. 

Do sleepless nights affect your diabetes care?  How do you deal?


SUM Sleepy Sheep.

SUM Tags: , , , ,


In a word: yes! I recently resigned from a more demanding job, to be with my daughter more and to focus on the important stuff--diabetes management, exercise, my marriage, spiritual health, etc. At my new job, I don't have to report until 10:30am, so I have my mornings to get my daughter off to school and get a head start on my housework and/or errands. I would not trade the less-stressful lifestyle for more money at this point...

I just came upon your blog in search of ways to better understand my Type I boyfriend. I only read a few posts, but things that I never understood before (his sometimes overwhelming fatigue, his irritability) just make so much more sense to me now. He doesn't open up easily, and its taken awhile for me to learn that his moods aren't about me- reading your blog is giving me great comfort. Thank you.

Thankfully our daughter sleeps through most of the middle of the night finger sticks and correction boluses. Even juice to over a lot doesn't disturb her much. I tiptoe around her room by the light of her pump display. The sleepless nights affect mom more than child, as I am not quite able to fall deep asleep wondering if the bolus will "hold" her "nicely on target" or take her down too low. Decisons not best made at 3 AM, but often are.

I've been having trouble sleeping too because of noisy pipes in my living room. A couple years ago when I was going through a period of insomnia due to school stress, I started taking melatonin on the advice of a friend and a school doctor. It's all natural and promotes sleep. You can find it in the vitamin section. I'm not sure how you feel about popping pills, but if you're having trouble falling asleep, I definitely recommend it until life calms down a bit. My only warning is you want to make sure you'll still have 7-8 hours or so to sleep, since it can make you a bit on the drowsy side.

Oh boy, I spent my early 20s in much the same way :-) I regularly went without sleep and had pretty much the same outcomes you did. Nowadays if I miss too much shut-eye, I find that my numbers are either persistently low the next day, or I need so much coffee to stay awake that I end up spiking into the 200s in the early morning and staying there. (I stay away from coffee/tea unless I really need it; the rest of the time I stick to Diet Cokes.) It tends to affect my appetite too--I need to keep eating small snacks to stoke my depleted energy reserves. By afternoon I'm rebounding high or low depending on my correction dosages. And I'm nowhere near as productive, of course, with all that going on :-(

The only blessing for me is that I can catch up on the weekends, since I only have one Lantus dose to worry about instead of the Regular/Lente rollercoaster. (I take my shot around noon, so I can sleep in if necessary.) But I have no endurance for staying up late now--2am is as late as I dare, even on a Saturday. What an old fart I've become ;-)

Take care!

I got very little sleep in college. My A1c was horrible. And I wasn't taking care of myself. But I think I am OLD! I can't deal with sleep deprivation anymore. I feel like crap on less that 7 hours. If it's less than 5, I can barely function. As for the diabetes, I find my blood sugar harder to control after this mostly because I end up snacking all day trying to stay awake. Horrible but true.

Hi Kerri, I really believe that the "you can do it all/have it all" mantra that most of us have chanted at one time or another is a lie from the pit. The older I get, the more comfortable I am with saying "no" to good things when they interfere with other more important priorities, including getting adequate rest.


I think that disturbed sleep is a side effect of diabetes. Before the CGM, I would frequently wake up around 3-4 AM EVERY night.

With the CGM I sometimes have nights where it alarms several times because my bg level is (say) 70. But my meter says I'm 90. With no insulin on board there's no need to correct by eating. But try telling the Dexcom that!

Only cure for me is to force myself to bed early for a few nights in a row. That generally gives me extra credit in the sleep account. Enough for a month or more's spending.

I am so tired, all the time. I actually answered this on my Blogabetes blog. But yes. Exhaustion reigns.

I know we've talked about this before, but up until five years ago, I could go on very little sleep (and crappy food and crappy exercise) with little effect.

Slowly, everything caved in and between the worst anti-depressant ever, the bum thyroid, and the subsequent type 2 diagnosis, I just couldn't do it anymore.

I cannot function AT ALL on less than 6 hours of sleep. Last summer, in the midst of all that other crud going on at work, I had to choose between sleep and exercise in order to make everyone and everything else happy (work, G, writing).

I'm not the same person I was five years ago and it scares me how I could be five years from now.

Anyways, my point is we all start slowing down in our late 20's. I don't know many people who have "sped up".

Sleep? I've forgotten what it's like to get a good nights sleep. I live in full time brain-fart mode, wishing and hoping for a few nights in a row of good solid shut eye - but never quite getting it.

BTW Kerri...All posts after 'what's best' and all your menus have shrunk... all is fine in IE, but I use Firefox and I can't read stuff that small ;)

Put me in the catagory under turttles for slow ! Im in my mid 40's already plus 31 years with type 1. As the years fly by I see the changes that it has taken on my body. Look in the mirror thats not me ! Who is it ?! Oh and the dark circles and bags under the eyes. Did we mention that ? Last thursday for work I drove 342 miles worked 11 hours that day. For the most part when I come home from work I eat dinner,head for bed and watch tv more with my eyes closed than open. Is it bedtime yet ?

M - Thanks for letting me know. I had a broken tag in there, but I think I've fixed it now. Does it look okay to you?

Yes, sleep does affect me. I am a night owl, and I have to struggle pretty hard with myself to get to bed any time before 2am. So, this often results in me being sleep deprived. Overall, I think I am a lot less sleep deprived in the past year and half out of school than I was while in college (and high school).

When I don't sleep enough, I felt like the bigger issue is that I make worse choices than that the lack of sleep affects my blood sugar directly. Even when I was trying really hard, I found it difficult to not snack mindlessly, not crave & eat lots of carbs, stay calm and not frazzled, when I wasn't sleeping enough. When I sleep enough, it just seems like everything falls into place more easily.

However, when I get really really little sleep, like only a couple hours, I sometimes tend to run my blood sugars in the normal or low end. Go figure.

Learn to sleep! Not knowing how to almost killed me. Read http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/15/health/15insi.html?_r=1&ex=1358139600&en=f08382b4127f29d9&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin

I'll blog about not sleeping again in the next few days.

Lack of sleep makes me prone to snacking all day, which means lots of readings that I may or may not take and boluses that I may or may not do right away. Yuck.

I am much less resilient when I'm short on sleep.

Like others have said, it drives me to snacking a lot and just generally making decisions that are not the best for me.

Sleep is a verb I don't do much. I think I worry too much about life and things going on to actually sleep. When I do sleep it isn't long before I have to get up. I feel that my diabetes makes me more tired because of the ups and downs and in betweens all day long. Then, all I want to do when I get home is sleep until bedtime. Rinse and repeat daily. I'm so tired all the time and I blame it on the diabetes. It makes me feel disabled.

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)