At this point, right now while writing this, I’m too scared to go to sleep. It is not the first time, it’ll not be the last.

What’s there to be afraid of? Well, I should start out by pointing out that I always measure blood glucose before going to sleep. And I mean always. There are no exceptions to this rule, zero. I mean none – going to sleep without knowing my blood glucose just doesn’t happen. If I’m around others I may be discreet about the matter, but it’s non-negotiable. More than 90% of my lifetime hypoglycemia-related hospitalizations have been sleep-related. In the past I’ve fallen asleep in my own bed and woken up many hours after I should have in a hospital bed more than a few times, with no memory of how I got there. The fear that I’d one day just not wake up at all became much more real after I moved away from home.

I measured a blood glucose half an hour ago, just before going to sleep. The measured value was in the same neighbourhood as the highest of the ones measured here (2.3 mmol/l). I had zero awareness anything was wrong and if I’d not had a decision rule never to go to sleep without testing, I’d probably just have gone to bed without thinking anything might be wrong. The blood glucose level is now back in the normal range, but I’m hesitant to go to sleep until it has increased a bit more than it has – especially as it’s not completely clear to me what caused this in the first place (double dosis of the slow-acting insulin two days ago?).

If I had just gone to sleep, things could have been ‘interesting’. This is a part of diabetes normal people usually don’t get to see. The fact of the matter is that I’ll sometimes be afraid simply to go to sleep because the disease may kill me in my sleep. It almost did last year.

I should perhaps point out that this episode wasn’t really anything super special. These things happen, not ‘on a regular basis’; but they do happen.

I have friends (they may be reading along) who’ve pointed out that they consider my level of risk aversion to be excessive and who’ve advised me that I’d perhaps be happier if I was more willing to take on risk in general. I think growing up with diabetes changes how you think about risk. Nights like these are probably part of the reason why I have a hard time following that advice.  The people giving advice should know this side of the equation too. Most people without the disease don’t.


March 1, 2013 - Posted by | Diabetes, Personal


  1. I am living with someone who has diabetes and I wasn’t aware of such a danger. I now am. Thanks.

    Comment by Nia Nymue | March 5, 2013 | Reply

    • There are diabetics who pretty much never have severe nocturnal hypoglycemias (or just severe hypoglycemias in general), and there are others who always wake up as a consequence of the hypoglycemia and manage to deal with the problem themselves. I generally don’t wake up, at least not until severe neurological symptoms have set in, which is part of what makes this so incredibly dangerous. So I (or rather, my body) may end up out of my bed in these situations, tumbling around without having any clue what’s going on, or for that matter who I am or what year it is – but this is not helpful in terms of reversing symptoms or getting help.

      It’s far from certain the person you live with are confronted with the same issues I am. If not then there are probably other things s/he worries about and/or have to deal with that doesn’t affect me. Diabetics tend to have plenty of stuff to worry about if they’re of the worrying kind. If you want to know more, you can always ask him/her.

      Comment by US | March 5, 2013 | Reply

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