That Sleep Thing

I am writing this at 3:27 am. In the next room, my 8-year-old is slumbering soundly. How ironic…

All those years of fear and loathing of being awakened every few hours by some unhappy baby — dragging out of bed to soothe a bad dream, find a binky, or change somebody’s sheets. Now that all the little ones finally sleep peacefully through the night, I’ve got some kind of self-induced sleep issue going on. And it’s definitely NOT GOOD for my diabetes management.

Trying_to_sleep_3 I wrote about it in this month’s Straight Up column at dLife.

Try googling “diabetes and sleep” and you get close to a million hits.

A resident expert on MedScape writes that “sleep disturbances are common among individuals with diabetes. When compared with nondiabetics, patients with diabetes report higher rates of insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, and unpleasant sensations in the legs that disturb sleep.

So far the legs are fine over here, knock on wood. I’m just wide awake night after night right about 3am on the dot. (The witching hour?) I toss and turn and mull over dozens of details and “to-do’s.” I get up and putter for hours — which usually means sitting at the PC. In the morning, I generally have a dull headache and a sensation I can only describe as “thin” — as in thin attention span, thin patience. Bad news when you’re a parent, and when you’re a diabetic who needs oodles of perseverance just to get through the day.

When I haven’t slept well, I can’t work out. Too tired. Less exercise = more cranky.

When I haven’t slept well, I do not eat well. Just grabbing and stuffing and snacking. That kitchen scale? Don’t even talk to me about it.

When I haven’t slept well, I am angry at my glucose meter. And it seems angry at me. Then we both have a bad day.

Know what I mean?

‘Nuff said. I’m off to get some shut-eye. Catch some Zzzz’s. Forty-winks and all that. God willing.


14 Responses

  1. Stu Davidson
    Stu Davidson February 12, 2008 at 7:29 am | | Reply

    I totally empathize with your sleep problems Amy. Even when we do get sleep, it’s often not the restorative sleep we need. I’ve had them for a long while as well. Iv’e found that “white noise” helps me: whether it’s an air conditioner, ceiling fan, vaporizor, etc., the sound of something helps. Having a child though, you may not be able to drown out what you need to be aware of.

  2. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell February 12, 2008 at 8:02 am | | Reply


    I’ve been going through this a lot over the last two weeks. Normally I’d wake up to test, or because of a pump or Dexcom alarm and fall straight back to sleep.

    Last night I took some melatonin before going to be. Despite waking at 12:30 AM and 4:00 AM, I managed to fall back asleep quickly.

    Ah the placebo effect, you can’t beat it!

  3. Kendra
    Kendra February 12, 2008 at 8:08 am | | Reply

    The comment about “unpleasant sensations in the legs” is especially interesting to me – I’ve often wondered if diabetics experience RLS at a higher rate than the rest of the population. I’ve had symptoms of RLS since I was 9 years old (and was not diagnosed with Type I until 18 years).

  4. shawn
    shawn February 12, 2008 at 8:35 am | | Reply

    too many things on your mind
    happens to the best of us
    go to the dragonherbs web site and buy ron teeguardens’s spring longevity tea
    one strong cup every other evening
    and you sleep very well with absolutely no side affects or feeling sleepy the next day
    i have told many people about it and we all know it works

  5. awright
    awright February 12, 2008 at 9:20 am | | Reply

    I’m Type 1 and I am the CMA for the sleep specialist here at Skagit Valley Medical Center in Mount Vernon, WA. If any of you are from the area and would like to schedule a consultation, his name is Dr. Murali Maheswaran and our office number is 360-428-2586.

  6. Hannah
    Hannah February 12, 2008 at 9:25 am | | Reply

    Putter around? Sounds more like you mean ‘puter around, if you’re on the PC. ;) I generally blame any sleep issues I have on a bad blood sugar, but sometimes I just have trouble for no good reason.

  7. Scott K. Johnson
    Scott K. Johnson February 12, 2008 at 12:36 pm | | Reply

    I agree that when I’m short on sleep I’m much less resilient and much more likely to make “not the best” choices.

    Keep us posted on how it goes for you. I’m sure many of us will be interested in knowing what you figure out!

  8. Jana
    Jana February 12, 2008 at 2:44 pm | | Reply

    If you’re regularly waking up with headaches, you should ask your dentist to look for evidence of teeth grinding/clenching at night. My dentist noticed the evidence (certain wear patterns on the teeth, etc.) without my prompting, and then asked if I woke up with headaches, and I certainly used to. Now that the dentist made a little device for me to keep me from clenching my teeth at night, I’m headache free. I don’t know if clenching/grinding ever contributes to insomnia, but I can imagine it might, so it’s worth thinking about.

  9. Rachel
    Rachel February 12, 2008 at 5:47 pm | | Reply

    I’m right there with you on sleep issues – been dealing with them for several years. So frustrating.

  10. whimsy2
    whimsy2 February 12, 2008 at 9:11 pm | | Reply

    Amy, and anyone else who suffers from insomnia, I have the Answer. Benadryl, of its generic equivalent. The operative ingredient is diphenhydramine.

    If you read the label, it’s for allergies but it warns not to drive while taking it because it causes drowsiness. Yea! So I take two 25-gram tablets a half hour before bedtime and it cured my insomnia, which was TERRIBLE before I found this cure. Either it would take me 2 hours to fall asleep, or I’d fall asleep right away but wake up at, yes, 3 a.m., or I’d wake up at 4:30 and not be able to get back to sleep. But no more! I just take them regularly, don’t want to find out if this is the night I need them. My doc says it’s fine, and I’ve been taking them every night now for at least 5 years. They’re still effective. And cheap! Give it a try.

  11. Windy
    Windy February 13, 2008 at 7:08 am | | Reply

    Yup. I find this happening to me too, often. Sometimes I take a chewable calcium, it’s supposed to calm nerves. But like Bernard said, probably just the placebo effect.

  12. MoHo
    MoHo February 13, 2008 at 8:13 am | | Reply

    Hi Amy. What about thyroid medication levels? If they are too high you might be a little hyperthyroid (which keeps me awake at 4 am.) Just a thought…

  13. Karen
    Karen February 15, 2008 at 7:21 pm | | Reply

    I do what the astronauts do, I take ambien.

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