Hypos in the night
Since moving and settling in, my blood sugar levels have returned to be more stable, but I keep having the odd random nighttime hypo, hitting between 2 and 3am.
Many ladies in my Facebook group say they worry about having hypos in the night when starting on insulin, but in all my pregnancies I have always woken up and know when I’m having a nighttime hypo.
I usually wake up feeling very hot and sweaty, then I get shaky. When I wake feeling like this, the first thing I do is test my blood sugar levels. One thing I do find is that it usually takes a while to raise my blood sugar levels with nighttime hypos (compared to hypos during the day).
Gavin often gets up with me to make sure I’m OK and he’ll walk me through to the kitchen and help get out my hypo kit. Usually a carton of fruit juice, orange, apple or pineapple works well for me and plain biscuits (hobnobs, digestives, Nairns oat biscuits) or toast. I get up to wake myself up properly, rather than just treating the hypo in bed.
After drinking juice I then wait 15 minutes and test my levels again. I aim to get them to 5.0mmol/L before eating a couple of oatcakes or digestive biscuits to help stabilise me.
I know when my levels are returning to normal as I stop feeling so hot. The shaking usually stops as soon as I’ve drunk a few mouthfuls of juice. Just goes to show how much sugar is in fruit juice, even if it is from natural sources!
Why I use juice instead of glucose tablets or sweets
I find juice easy to drink and it works instantly. I’m not keen on fizzy drinks (especially in the middle of the night) and sweets and glucose tablets are hard work to chew and swallow if you have a bad hypo. I’ve experienced hypos down to levels as low as 1.9 mmol/L and still managed to drink the juice, whereas I think I would struggle chewing jelly babies or Haribo when I’m that low. I also notice that using something like Haribo sweets to treat a hypo seems to have a nasty side effect afterwards, upsetting my tummy quite badly (this may be unrelated to gestational diabetes though) and so, juice is my go to for treating hypos.
Preventing the nighttime hypos
I try lowering my bedtime slow release insulin by 2 units to see if this helps stop the hypos. This results in stopping the hypos but my fasting levels going over 5.3 mmol/L and so this isn’t a great solution to the problem and I have to increase my insulin again to keep my fasting levels in check.
The next step is to play around with my bedtime snacks to see if I can keep myself more stable throughout the night.
It seems that I can keep my fasting levels lower and stabilised better if I drink a glass of full fat whole milk before bed. If I forget the glass of milk, I seem to either get higher fasting levels and/or end up having a nighttime hypo.
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