Hypoglycemia is a common condition that affects many people with diabetes. In 2016, there were 16 million emergency department visits related to diabetes, and 235,000 were for a hypoglycemic crisis. That's an average of 10.2 cases per 1,000 adults with diabetes. Unfortunately, these episodes can sometimes happen at night when the individual is sleeping, and they cannot eat or drink anything to raise their blood sugar levels. If you're asleep, it compounds the problem by making it challenging to begin typical hypoglycemia treatment and a reason why so many individuals end up at the ER. The good news is, there are some things you can do before bedtime to help avoid a nighttime hyperglycemic incident.
What is Nighttime Hypoglycemia?
The condition occurs when glucose levels dip overnight. If you check your blood sugar status before bed and it's 100 mg/dl or lower, you could experience symptoms overnight that require hypoglycemia treatment. Research indicates around half of all low blood sugar episodes happen while you're sleeping. You don't want to wake up with a fasting blood sugar of 70 mg/dl or lower.
Signs of an Overnight Dip in Glucose
You don't need to check your glucose levels to know if you're experiencing a low blood sugar incident. Some symptoms should alert you to the problem. However, if you're newly diagnosed or are pre-diabetic, you might not pick up on them quickly enough.
Common signs your blood sugar is too low includes:
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Pale skin
- Numbness of the lips, tongue, or cheek
As your blood sugar gets dangerously low, you might experience worsening symptoms, such as:
- Blurry vision
- Abnormal behavior
- Loss of consciousness
These are serious symptoms that require emergency medical care. Additionally, if you've followed all the steps for hypoglycemia treatment and you're not feeling better, contact your doctor immediately.
Causes of Low Glucose at Night
There are several possible causes of low sugar at night. Most revolve around daytime management of diabetes. For example, skipping meals can lead to lower levels. Often, individuals that don't eat dinner can experience a significant dip in glucose. If you know you're going to miss or be late with a meal, in particular, dinner, carry a snack, such as an Extend Anytime Protein Bar with you to eat until you can eat a complete meal.
Alcohol can also cause your levels to dip. Try not to drink before bed. The occasional celebration is okay, but consuming alcohol nightly can severely increase your chances of experiencing an incident. Additionally, exercising within two hours of sleeping can deplete your glucose levels overnight. To prevent low sugar levels from working out, complete all sessions at least two hours before bed.
Complications of Nighttime Hypoglycemia
Complications of low glucose levels at night can be severe. If left untreated, it can lead to seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death. Additionally, other symptoms might cause dangerous situations, causing serious injuries from falls. Also, when this condition is left untreated might increase the risk of dementia in older adults.
Hypoglycemia Treatment at Night
The best way to address the nighttime ailment is to follow a healthy bedtime routine. Get in the habit of checking your blood sugar before bed and calming down about two hours before bed. Avoid strenuous activities, including exercise. Working out before going to sleep can cause glucose to drop while you're asleep.
After taking your blood sugar reading, if it's less than 100mg/dl, you'll need to eat more than your usual snack to prevent the overnight dip. Extend Anytime Protein Bars are the perfect healthy bite to eat before bed. You can eat a delicious bars and stay under two net carbs if your glucose slips too low near bedtime. Each sugar-free bar contains 9-12g of protein and up to 5g of fiber. The low-glycemic, low-fat, low-carb snack is ideal for helping control blood sugar for up to 9 hours, which means you'll be good for the duration.
Tips for Preventing Overnight Hypoglycemia
The key to controlling diabetes 24/7 includes learning how to prevent nighttime blood sugar drops. While there may be times when you fail to see the signs, get distracted and miss a meal, or have an extra drink with friends that causes a quick and unexpected drop. However, in most cases, if you strive to lead a healthy lifestyle and follow these tips, you'll do better at preventing the condition, so you don't have to worry about hypoglycemia treatment.
1. Know the Signs
It's vital to know the symptoms of low glucose levels. This knowledge can be the difference between eating an Extend Anytime Protein Bar to raise your blood sugar to avoid nighttime or ending up in the emergency room. If you're experiencing anxiety, sweating, shakiness, irritability, or hunger, begin hypoglycemia treatment immediately.
2. Check Your Blood Sugar Before Going to Sleep
Don't guess. You might feel fine before you go to bed. A simple reading before diving under your covers can prevent a scary overnight or trip to the emergency room. If your levels are around 100mg/dl, start preventive measures to get the numbers back up before closing your eyes for the night.
3. Reduce or Skip Alcohol at Night
Many people like to enjoy a few alcoholic beverages at night. However, if you have diabetes, you want to avoid alcohol before bed. Try to only drink in moderation. Daily nighttime alcohol use can be dangerous. If you do decide to drink at night, level it off with food. Eating with alcohol might reduce the chances of a low blood sugar reading overnight.
4. Don't Skip Dinner
Skipping dinner is a common cause of low glucose levels before bed and while sleeping. Even if you're not hungry, try to eat something. Also, make good dining choices. A nutritious meal can go a long way in keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level. Too many carbs and not enough protein can cause your body to burn off sugar too quickly, leaving you with low glucose and the need to eat more before bed. Snack on an Extend Anytime Protein Bar or Extend Protein Shake before bed.
5. Keep an Extend Bar in Your Nightstand or Dresser
An Extend Anytime Protein Bar is the ideal quick snack. You don't need to refrigerate it. So, it's easy to keep close by when you sleep. In addition, it can help control your blood sugar for up to 9 hours at night and offer a healthy alternative when you have a nighttime sugar craving that could cause the opposite effect and lead your glucose levels to spike.
Additionally, if you're already experiencing low blood sugar, grabbing something from your nightstand is easier. Overly tired people can fall or have difficulty making it to their kitchen. Plus, Extend Anytime Protein Bars only contain up to 150 calories so that you won't be overdoing your intake with a single high-protein nougat.
Nighttime hypoglycemia is a serious condition. It's vital to know the signs, test regularly, and take preventive measures to reduce your risk. However, if you are experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar, it's essential to work to raise it to a healthy level actively. Nocturnal hypoglycemia treatment can be as simple as eating one or two Extend Bars for immediate relief. The tasty treats help control blood sugar for up to 9 hours, so you can sleep peacefully.