Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, happens when the level of glucose in the system drops drastically below normal. Low blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or less. So, if your blood sugar is that low, consult with your doctor.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia may vary from person to person. They can range from moderate to severe. However, there are times when people do not feel any symptoms. Here is everything you need to know about low blood sugar at night.
Common Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar
The symptoms of hypoglycemia are very common among people with type 1 diabetes. Here is a complete list of all of the possible symptoms that may occur.
Moderate or Mild Symptoms
- Too much sweating,
- Blurred vision,
- Pale face,
- Altered behavior,
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Inability to drink or eat,
Severe hypoglycemia is a very serious problem. If you recognize the symptoms, seek help immediately. This problem will not go away on its own. Therefore, it is crucial to get adequate treatment as fast as possible.
Symptoms During Sleep
These symptoms may appear while you sleep. Here is how you can recognize them.
- Confusion after waking up,
- Nightmares that make you cry,
- Still feeling tired after waking up.
Causes of Nighttime Hypoglycemia
Low blood sugar may appear as a side effect of certain diabetes medicines or insulin. Therefore, all the medications which can help the body produce more insulin may reduce the blood sugar level. There are two types of these medications.
One is meglitinides and the second one is sulfonylureas. If you have to take these medications, make sure to ask your doctor if they can affect your blood sugar levels. After all, every metabolism may act differently to the drugs.
As a result, it is important to pick the right ones for you. Even though other medications for diabetes will not make the blood sugar levels drop, they might increase the chance of hypoglycemia.
This can happen only if you take meglitinide, sulfonylurea, or insulin at the same time with other medicine.
Furthermore, other factors that might cause the blood sugar to drop could be the late night meal, or even drinking alcohol in the evening. Therefore, if you took insulin before having a late-night meal, your blood sugar level may potentially drop in the middle of the night.
The reason for this is because the insulin works 5 to 6 hours. It can cover the meal, but it won’t function for more than the predicted time limit. As a result, it is important to focus on eating a meal at the right time, to avoid hypoglycemia during the night.
In addition, drinking alcohol in the evening can have the same effect. The liver will be too busy cleaning out the alcohol, and it will focus less on producing glucose. As a result, the blood sugar levels will drop.
How to Recognize Nighttime Hypoglycemia
If your blood glucose is lower than 72 mg/dl in the middle of the night, it means that you have nighttime hypoglycemia. However, if you don’t properly treat it, the levels can drop even more. If the levels drop below 40 mg/dl, a person might even slip into a coma.
According to doctors at the Joslin Diabetes Center, the ideal recommended levels of the blood sugar should be at least 140 mg/dl at bedtime.
If a person goes to sleep with high blood glucose, they will spend a third of the night with damaging levels of blood sugar in their bloodstream. Frequent increase in the blood sugar level during the night can cause long-term complications in people with diabetes.
Therefore, you should never ignore this problem. If the numbers exceed 600 mg/dl, it can increase the level of risk. So, make sure to take insulin to keep the blood glucose in check. For more changes in the blood sugar levels, make sure to consult with a medical professional.
How to Avoid Low Blood Sugar at Night
So, if you have to wear an insulin pump, and you fear your blood sugar will drop overnight, adjust the pump to give less basal insulin during the night. Also, feel free to eat a healthy snack right before going to bed.
However, don’t consume an entire meal since it can affect the blood sugar levels later at night. Moreover, if you frequently have to deal with this problem, then use a CGM (a continuous glucose monitor) as much as you can.
This way, you will receive a proper warning you if the blood glucose levels are too low or high.
Consult with a Doctor
Always check in with your doctor to monitor your blood sugar levels. It is very important to know how you can deal with this problem. Even though the risk of a serious emergency situation is not that great, it is still important to keep the problem in check.
In addition, you will be able to avoid probable serious complications.