{Our Story} Overnight BG Checks

by Leighann on February 1, 2012

When Q was first diagnosed, once her blood sugars were somewhat regulated after getting insulin to carb ratios and the bedtime dosage of Lantus figured out, we were told that we didn’t need to do overnight blood sugar checks. So we didn’t. If her blood sugar was fine at bedtime, she was good for the night.

I’m not sure if she was more “even” overnight when she was on injections or if it was because her blood sugar range at the time was higher (100-200), but if she went to bed fine, her morning BG was okay too.

Sometime after we started an insulin pump, we began checking blood sugars overnight. I can’t remember what made me start doing it. First it started with checking her at 10:00 or 11:00 pm before we went to bed. It has progressed into that late evening check and then setting my alarm sometime during the night, usually 2:00 am, to check her again.

Like I said, for the first couple of years after diagnosis, we weren’t checking in the middle of the night. But now we are. When I awake at 2:00 am, I can’t just roll over and fall back asleep and sometimes I’m up for hours, finally falling asleep close to 5:00 am. I know what you are saying: have my husband do the overnight checks. He does sometimes, but if he’s up and walking around it wakes me up, so I may as well do it myself.

So last night (I’m typing this at 2:46 am, by the way), I was tired. I laid down in bed after the kids went down and fell asleep sometime around 9:30 pm. I remember being tired at that time. I set the sleep timer on the TV’s remote to turn itself off in an hour. I contemplated setting my alarm to awake me at 10:00 pm, but thought that I would check on her if I was still awake, but that I’d let myself fall asleep early if my body would let me.

My eyes opened and I looked at the clock. It was exactly 2:00 am on the dot. Is my body trained or what?

I walked to the kids’ bathroom to grab the meter off of the counter where it’s placed each evening at bedtime. I fumbled a little in her room trying not to wake her brother who was having a “sleepover” with her.

Her blood sugar was 82.

I walked back to the bathroom and grabbed a juice from our overnight kit and returned to her, rubbing her back to partially wake her and whispered to her to drink the juice, which she can do in one giant gulp while still sleeping.

I went downstairs to pour her a glass of milk, thinking that I’d give her a little protein to keep her even through the rest of the night.

I checked her blood sugar again: 70.

70?!

How low would she have gone had I not awoken without my alarm?

I have no idea why she was low. She was 84 before bedtime and my husband gave her 15 uncovered carbs including protein for her bedtime snack, just like our plan dictates for a number between 80 and 100.

One of the biggest lessons learned is that her brother does not in fact function as a diabetic alert dog, despite spending the previous day insisting he be called “Ruffy” the puppy.

Further Reading

{Diabetes Management} Overnight Supply Kit

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen February 1, 2012 at 6:51 am

I can totally relate to this. We let our son go thru the night usually. But I can’t even count how many times I’ve randomly woken up and thought, “I should check his BG” and he’ll be surprisingly high or surprisingly low. I know it’s God giving me a little nudge because He knows best how to take care of my son!

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2 Tracy Dillman February 1, 2012 at 9:31 am

Our son is so all over the map sometimes, I can’t go without checking him at night. Heck, even now, he’s sick but his BGs aren’t quite acting like so. I suspended his pump at around midnight last night because he was 115 and trending down. I woke every two hours to check his trmperature, ketones, and BG. Finally @ 6am, I resumed it as he had reached 201.

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3 Jer February 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

We also check every night. We’ve significantly backed off the basal rate (also on OmniPod) during the nighttime hours, but it is still not uncommon to test her at 2:00a and find that she is below 50. Last night she was 37. Sheesh. Odd thing is that the routine is fairly stable night to night and this does not happen every night. We’re now looking at how her daily activity impacts her overnight numbers. She’s doing a science fair this spring and I suggested she do a study of her BG numbers!

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4 SarahK February 1, 2012 at 10:49 am

Sometimes we just can’t explain the “why”. Just last night, I bottomed out to 40 with no warnings. I asked my husband in my sleep if he had any juice and him answering me is what woke me up.

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5 Dawn February 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm

When my daughter was diagnosed, we checked her at 2 a.m. every night per our endo’s orders. When we started pumping, we starting checking her at 12:30 and 3:30 a.m. every night per the pump nurse’s orders. It’s been long enough that we should be able to cut back to once a night, but every time we try to cut back to one check, we have an unexpected low. For now, we will keep on checking!

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6 linda buzogany February 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Every night for 12 years…with many unexplainable lows. Not many people get that we do this. Peace to all.
~Linda

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7 Samantha February 2, 2012 at 8:14 am

Hi – My daughter is 9 (dx at age 2) – my husband and I have been checking her over night since she was diagnosed. We set an alarm every night for 1:00 am and we take turns alternating nights…some nights we just go back to sleep, some nights she needs milk, syrup ect…she sleeps through the whole thing! We do it for peace of mind and to keep her safe. As parents, we are all just tryiing our best and doing what we have to do. There simply is not a choice in this regard. Have a great day fellow diabetes moms and sleep well!!

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8 Amy Scheer February 2, 2012 at 10:22 am

We’re told to make sure he’s over 100 before going to bed, then give a little protein snack (usually 6 carbs total). So if he was in the 80s, I’d treat it like a low, retest in 15 minutes, and if he was over 100 I’d give him about 6g including protein. Used to be we’d do all this and then give 15g including protein, but that tended to make him spike.

Don’t worry about the what if…mom’s instinct and timing kicked in just as it should, and all is well. There was a time I completely messed up the lunch carb count for school and sent him with it….then for some reason, just before lunchtime, my brain said, Hmm. Better recheck that. Caught it just in time. And there was really no reason for me to have been thinking about it at all.

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9 Terry February 3, 2012 at 10:21 am

Our Dr told me overnight checks were only necessary when my son exercised more often the day before. But our educational nurse begged me not to listen to him and check him every single night. I am certain she has saved his life after many, many overnight checks finding him in the 30s, 40s or 50s – with no exercise that day whatsoever. It is 9 years later, and I still wake every night. I do the checks myself as my husband has sided with the Dr’s advice – even though he knows about all the lows I have found over the years. He has sided with the Dr so that he doesn’t have to be the one to get up during the night to possibly save his son. I do what I have to do for my son – because I’m his mother. Good luck to you all

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10 Jessie February 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

We too check at 2am every night. We had the exact opposite problem last night though. My son went to bed at 118 without a snack. My alarm, set for 2am (is it is every day) didn’t go off. My husband woke me up in a panic at 4. Tested. 390. (OUCH!) Pizza for dinner is always sneaky. Gave him half a unit. Woke up at 80. Whew. Poor little guy.

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