Twins Always Take Care of Each Other!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Sleepless Nights

What is it about falling asleep?

Does the blood sugar levels of your type 1 diabetic child just KNOW that you have just finally slipped away from a long day of work, kids, laundry, dishes and everything else and you were JUUUST about to get some peaceful rest - if only for a little while and BAM! That blood sugar level that has been cooperating all evening decides to go high or low... doesn't matter. As long as it means the continuous blood glucose monitor (CGM) alarms and rips you out of that blissful sleep in what seems like the moment you fell into it! It is like there is a little leprechaun hiding inside that CGM and he lies in wait for you to drift off and the moment that little guy hears your breathing slow and sees your eyelids start to flutter; he pounces!

And it is enough to scare the living daylights out of you. When you hear that loud CGM alarm during that delicate stage of sleep, it makes you jump! Heart pounding! No way to get back to sleep afterwards. (Thank heavens for social media - this is why you will see the D-parent posting online at all hours of the night! So many times we will wake from testing our child and not be able to fall asleep again. So, what do we do? We post about it on Facebook or Twitter. HA! Or we read a book or look for new ideas on Pinterest!)

I remember the days before having children when the thought of staying up throughout the night (or waking frequently) for the period of a few months until the babies slept through the night) seemed like an almost impossible task. And now it is a part of our every day reality. Forever. Well, until a better treatment option or a cure is found for type 1 diabetes.

So, I would say I am lucky. I am a "functional sleepless d-parent" but I feel bad for those that are not. I seem to do well, at least pretty well on very little sleep when that rotten little leprechaun comes out to play at night. But I know, I am sure anyway, there must be some people that NEED that sleep. That can't function without that sleep so this lack of sleep becomes a very real problem in their life. Lack of sleep is directly tied to weight gain, mood disorders, memory loss, depression and many other health conditions. Imagine this extended over a lifetime. With type 1 diabetes there is no "ignoring it" and wait until morning to fix the problem. If there is a low or high blood sugar reading over night it must be corrected. Some nights - bad nights - and for heaven on knows the reasons sometimes - you can end up with only an hour of sleep (if you are lucky!) Thankfully these nights don't happen often, but they can happen.

I have seen data that shows that blood sugar levels (overall A1C) seem to stabilize as individuals grow older (with good control - lifestyle choices). Indicating that children are just particularly difficult to keep in tight blood sugar control - difficult - not impossible. I cling to this and hope it is true, it certainly makes sense. Although, I hope by the time we get to her adulthood there is a much better treatment option or even a cure :-)

So, if you are like me and spend most of your nights awake. 
Allow yourself a little CAT NAP throughout the day. 
It is good for your health!