Having low blood sugar while you are sleeping, or nocturnal hypoglycemia, can be a common occurrence in people with diabetes. The symptoms of low blood sugar are more easily recognizable when you are awake and you are more likely to have access to, and able to consume, a fast-acting carbohydrate to raise low blood sugar. Having low blood sugar at night is both frightening and potentially dangerous, and brings questions about being able to wake up when symptoms occur and having the ability to correct it.
It is important to take steps to avoid low blood sugar at night and be prepared to correct it quickly. First, work with your healthcare professional to understand the causes of nocturnal hypoglycemia and strategize how to minimize the likelihood of low blood sugar while sleeping. Also, be prepared to correct nighttime low blood sugar by keeping glucose liquid, gel or tablets by your bed.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar while sleeping, is a common occurrence for people with diabetes. Symptoms may include nightmares, restlessness, night sweats, convulsions, morning headache and fatigue.
Some common causes of nocturnal hypoglycemia are:
Tips to help prevent nocturnal hypoglycemia:
*Briscoe VJ, Davis SN. Hypoglycemia in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes: physiology, pathophysiology, and Management. Clin Diabetes 2006;24:115-121.
Whether you, your child or a loved one experiences nocturnal hypoglycemia, it is different than experiencing it during while awake. It may be dark. It is easy to be groggy. You or your loved one’s thinking and coordination may be off. Therefore, it is wise to think ahead and make correcting low blood sugar as simple as possible. The following are steps you can take to be prepared: