You are relaxing in front of your favourite series, reading a good book before going to bed or enjoying some night rest, when your activities suddenly get disturbed by the unpleasant feeling of a headache, needing to urinate, being thirsty or a blurry vision. That sounds like you might be dealing with the symptoms of high blood sugar levels at night.
But why is your blood sugar high at night, what should you do to avoid this and how can you stabilize your blood sugar levels again? Let’s have a closer look to find some answers!
What is high blood sugar?
People with diabetes are trying to stay in range, but sometimes it is difficult to avoid a high. According to the World Health Organization your blood glucose levels are too high when they are above 126 mg/dL or 7.0 mmol/L when fasting (a period before eating), or above 200 mg/dL or 11.1 mmol/L two hours after eating. This is also referred to as hyperglycemia.
Hedia can help you to keep your blood glucose levels in range by providing you with a recommended rapid-acting insulin dose. Download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play and try it yourself!
Recognizing the early symptoms of hyperglycemia is extremely valuable. In doing so, you will be able to treat the signs rapidly and in an early stage. Learn to listen to your own body and be aware of certain behavioural patterns, write them down if needed. When acting on hyperglycemia you are avoiding the long term complications and live with diabetes in the most enjoyable manner. How you experience a hyper can vary from person to person, but we can provide you with some of the more common symptoms:
- dry mouth
- increased urination
- nausea and vomiting
- sudden mood swings and easily irritated
- being and staying really thirsty
- feeling tired
- everything feels unpleasant
- blurred vision
- lack of appetite or increased appetite
When you have a hyper at night when you are sleeping you might wake up with some of the symptoms that are mentioned above.
Why is my blood sugar high at night?
There can be various reasons for your blood sugar levels to increase at night. Too little insulin or diabetes medication, too little exercise, too much food, menstruation, pregnancy, injury or medical operation, illness or infection, stress or non-diabetic medication are all factors that can cause the blood sugar spike at night.
How to stabilize high blood sugar at night?
When your blood sugar rises at night, there are different actions you can take to tackle the causes and effects.
The symptom of increased urination is the body’s natural reaction to get rid of the excess amount of sugar in the blood. It is therefore important to drink enough (but not something sweet!) to stimulate this process.
It is very important to not do any exercise while your blood glucose level is too high (above 15 mmol/L). Instead it is advised to measure your ketones and have a low intensity work out or postpone exercise, depending on your measurements. This is recommended because there may not be enough insulin available to lower the blood glucose that is released during exercise. This can cause more frequent urination that can lead to dehydration. Especially when you lose more water from sweating and breathing during exercise. Furthermore, if the body is forced to burn fat for fuel, as is the case when insulin levels are too low, this can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Read on to learn more about this condition.
However, keeping your muscles active can contribute to preventing a high, since they are able to burn the blood glucose. If you are on an insulin treatment, you usually have to inject less insulin when you work out regularly as your insulin sensitivity will increase and will improve how your body uses glucose. You might experience higher blood glucose if you weren’t as active as you usually are during the day, perhaps because you had an off day and stayed home.
With the Hedia diabetes assistant you are able to make your insulin calculation based on your work out and current blood glucose. Would you like to learn more, then our article on exercise and diabetes can provide you with some interesting insights.
Your blood sugar spike at night might be caused by eating too much food at dinnertime compared to the amount of insulin you inject in your body. When you do feel like a snack, consider measuring your blood glucose to see if it should be a snack with a high or low amount of carbohydrates. Read more about this in our food and diabetes guide.
Feeling rushed or stressed can cause the body to release adrenaline which will generate a blood sugar spike. Ask yourself if you’re experiencing any situations in which you feel under pressure that might cause your high blood sugar levels at night.
Enough diabetes treatment
Remember to measure your blood glucose and inject your insulin dosage or take your medication, especially when you are not feeling well. If you need a reminder to check and medicate, Hedia can help you with this in order to regulate your diabetes lifestyle.
A very high blood glucose level can be an early symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis. When the body does not have enough insulin to use glucose, the body’s normal source of energy, it will create ketones. Ketones are a byproduct from the breakdown of fat. These ketones make the blood more acidic when they build up. Ketones are therefore a warning sign that your diabetes is out of control or that you are getting sick. Diabetic ketoacidosis usually develops slowly (24 hours) and can lead to fainting or a diabetic coma. If your blood glucose levels are high, it is therefore very important to measure ketones.
It is important to listen to your body and act upon a hyper rapidly to avoid serious complications. When you suffer from an intense hyper your breathing deepens and might smell of acetone. In this case call medical emergency support immediately.
A hyper is something everyone with diabetes can experience from time to time, but if it happens more often you might need to adjust or need a different treatment. Listen to your body and consult your medical specialist on what is best for you. Having a high blood sugar level for a longer period of time can lead to complications, such as damage to the blood veins. That’s why it’s important to prolong your time in range.