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Does Diabetes Have to be a Nightmare?

Updated on July 28, 2017
GarnetBird profile image

Gloria taught for many years, and also worked as a mental health group facilitator.

For A Diabetic, restful Sleep is Often a Mirage..

I call this photograph, "Panic..."
I call this photograph, "Panic..." | Source

My symptoms started several years ago and gradually worsened. I would have vivid, disturbing dreams, often nightmares, which would awaken me in a state of hunger. Going downstairs to gobble up a carbohydrate snack before going back to sleep became a nightly pattern. By morning I would usually oversleep and awaken in a panic, shaking. This went on for a year before a smart doctor diagnosed me with Type 2 Diabetes and put me on metaformin (an insulin boosting drug). I was also given the blood sugar meter, sharps and strips with which to monitor my daily levels.

Well meaning friends would suggest that perhaps I was awaking hungry, and that my blood sugar was too low. This is logical, and often a correct assessment. However I was horrifed and shocked to find, upon testing my blood sugar in the morning, that a rise in blood sugar triggered the disturbances and shaking episodes. My morning numbers were very high, and sometimes persisted this way, even after a careful calories count and medication. After going to different sites, I discovered that this is fairly common--high readings in the morning, and lower ones as the day goes on. Apparently in Diabetics, glucose gets dumped into the system while one is asleep.

These symptoms should not be ignored, as my research online has turned up quite a few sleep disturbances in those with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. (Type 1 is early onset and more severe than Type 2). I read blog after blog on sufferers who complained of nightmares as their blood glucose levels flunctuated. High blood sugar at night can also cause one to run to the toliet to urinate frequently, also a determent for good, solid sleep. In my case, my symptoms were so pronounced I felt perfectly awful in the morning, as though getting ready for a major catastrophe. I would shake, flooded with dread andf sheer panic. The vivid details of my dreams would seem to encase me in an aura of unreality, as though in a fantasy fog.

Metafomin has helped me--along with a stricter diet--to keep my blood sugar from getting too high in the evenings. A good blood sugar level for a diabetic in the early morning is 99 or lower. I still have days when I want to binge on carbs, and if I indulge too much my sleep patterns go back to the same pattern of shaking in the morning and intense dreaming, despite the medication.

Diabetes does not have to be a nightmare..for those of you who need an excellent online support group, try, TUDIABETES.COM. It is a free community of support and information, and simply breaths warm into one's life. The posts are excellent, honest and caring, and are wonderful resources available at your fingertips. This site is also good for those of you who have a loved one with Diabetes.


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    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Good idea...thank you..

    • m2webs profile image

      m2webs 6 years ago from Belgrade, Serbia

      ur story is really an example of determined fight with the nasty disease. May I suggest you an alternative medicine (got tip from one of my Indian friends)? Maybe you know it, still... soak 1 teaspoon of dry fenugreek seeds in a bowl of water at night. when you rise the next morning after brushing, drink first the soaked water and then eat the seeds on empty stomach. A bit bitter to taste but not bad too. Hope you will be benefited by this.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you, Ethel! I'm doing pretty good so far..

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Good luck. It affects so many as we age. You must look after yourself, I know that you will though

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      My father had type 2 and lived to be 93. However, he was on an insulin-producing med much like Metaformin is today. The disease can be scary, but once you have a good support group and get comfortable testing yourself, it's alot easier!Sorry about your Aunt. Some people go into denial and just eat themselves into a coma--not many, but some.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      I have an aunt with diabetes. Unfortunately she is also an attention seeker, so she used to break her diet, so she would go to hospital to be stabilised. Mind you she is more responsible now, and has reached the age of ninety.

      I hope your diabetes continues to be manageable, and you reach that age, and beyond, yourself.

      Thanks for a very useful, and interesting article.