Daytime sleepiness and diabetes?

Just before I was diagnosed as diabetic, I started having these episodes where I "lost time"--at work and at home, normally between 1 - 3 pm. Sometimes later. I kept asking my mom who is a diabetic, did she have this problem and she said no. I even told my PCP but he didn't have an answer either.

Now the Endo has placed me on Metformin 1000/2x a day and the episodes are returning and they are worse than before. Mom thinks my blood sugars are high. She told that my paternal grandmother would be talking and stop in the middle of a sentence, gone to sleep, but only when her sugars were high.

My maternal grandfather (a diabetic), had these episodes but his sugars were low--and needed orange juice.

Is this one of the symptoms of diabetes? If so how do I get my doctor (Endo) to understand? During the initial visit he didn't say anything when I told him about it and the fact that I could drink at 3 gallons of water a day.

I get up in the middle of the night going to the bathroom and then the fridge or vice versa.

Well, sounds like you had some classic signs/symptoms of diabetes (increased trips to the bathroom and the fridge, drinking more than usual). I was diagnosed with type 2 about 2 years ago and put on metformin (500 mg twice a day). I was also on Lopressor at 150 mg a day. These days I take only 50 mg of Lopressor and pretty soon looks like I'll quit taking that also, or reduce it to 25 mg daily.

As a stubborn and disillusioned ICU nurse, familiar with how the health "care" system works, I decided to take a different approach and see if that would make a positive difference, lol.
I cut back on carbohydrates and started walking. I have a very bad back, but still manage to walk an average of 3 times a week. I absolutely cannot run/jog but I do try my best to keep moving on that trail.
I never experienced increased hunger or urination, but I would get so sleepy in the middle of the day. There were times when I'd wake up and within minutes I was ready to crawl back in bed.

It's possible your endocrinologist isn't saying much because he realizes those are symptoms of diabetes (so perhaps the thinks, "Why state the obvious?"). Do you have a glucose monitor? I have a few, and the ones I like best are the TREUresult and the Accuchek Nano.
Very glad I went on a low carb diet (I try to keep it below 30 g). When I was on metformin I would still wake up with blood sugar between 140 and 160. These days - though not perfect by all means - when I first wake up the blood glucose runs between 110 and 125, and pretty much normal (below 100) during the day. I also have a lot more energy and no longer feel like sleeping all the time.

Listen to your health practitioners, but strive to become an informed, critical consumer. When I told my doctor that, imho, most health practitioners want to keep you "sick enough", he too busted out laughing (and could not disagree). Think about it... if we were in perfect health, there'd be no need to go to the doctor's, but if they let us die - same thing - no more trips to the doc's, lol

If you're new to the forum, welcome :-)
Lots of experienced, caring people here! Sure glad I found Tudiabetes.


Your symptoms could very well be caused High blood sugars.

Pre diagnosis on a Saturday morning I would eat a carby breakfast, drink 3 or 4 cups of coffee and doze off by 9AM. At work my brain would stop functioning about 9 or 10. I work in IT and this was a serious problem, I thought I was just getting old and seriously doubted I would be able to do my job much longer. Happily all these symptoms disappeared when I got got control of my blood glucose.

Like Pat I low carb 30 to 50g/day. Be aware that if you have been running extremely high at first when you lower your blood glucose you won't feel very good because your body is used to higher numbers.

Your meter is your best friend, test frequently at first to figure out what you can and can't eat. Getting control means making some big changes in your life but it's worth it.

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Thanks Pat and BadMoon. Unfortunately the Endo did not give me a script for a meter. He basically gave me a packet on what to eat, script for the Metformin and a 3 month follow-up appointment--which would be mid November.

I'm pretty much flying by the seat of my pants. He has Mom set up with a script for a meter and strips. He didn't say where he wanted my blood glucose numbers to be either.

May I ask when you received the diabetes diagnosis and what the numbers were at the time of diagnosis?

You do not need a prescription for a meter. Some companies will even send you a free meter, but careful with the strips because - depending on which meter you choose - they can get quite expensive!
I used Amazon to buy my meters and strips. The strips for the Accuchek Nano were under $25 for 50, with free shipping. 100 strips for the TRUEresult meter were just under $20 with free shipping.
You could get less expensive strips. For example, the strips for Relion meters (at Walmart) are less than $10 for 20, but I fairly quickly discovered the meter consistently reads quite a bit higher than the other two, often well over 25-30 points, and I find that not acceptable. The Nano and the TRUEresult are always within a few numbers of each other.
One more question... how many carbohydrates does the endo's packet suggest that you eat each day or at every meal?
Hang in there,Kate; we'll be here to support you :-)

I was originally diagnosed by the PCP in May, but not given any feedback other than "you're diabetic. Stay away from bread, pasta, rice." I then asked to be see my Mom's Endo (referral required) you diagnosed me as Type 2 in August. He ran additional labs and told me to come back in two weeks. My A1C went from 6.9 in May to 6.7 in Aug and 6.2 in late Aug. He gave a general packet with the ADA chart and said "say away from carbos) and script for Metformin. He said I only had mild diabetes.

He's a very Type A personality, lacks patience, but a very good doctor. He supposed to give you a meter and a script for strips for insurance. Then bring your meter and/or pump in for him to put the numbers into the computer. Right now, I'm kind of in limbo.

Yesterday I had another one of the "lost time" at 2 pm, I felt really bad for the rest of the day, sleepy, no appetite, very thirsty, sweet taste in my mouth--like I'd been drinking pancake syrup.

Last night I went to bed early and woke up a couple of hours later in the bathroom throwing up. I only had a garden salad for dinner, so I don't know why I was "upchucking". I did the same thing one weekend just before he put me on Metformin.

It's got me worried. My mom thew up for almost 40 years (involuntarily)--soon as she ate up it came--until the doctors diagnosed her as Type 2 and put her on insulin and she stopped immediately.

Hi Kate, You really need a meter so you can test when these episodes happen. There is no way to tell if it is caused by high blood sugar if you don't test. Since you can buy a meter over the counter, I would go to Wal-Mart, Target etc. and buy the store brand. Most docs don't see the need for extensive testing for a T2. This is true if you are not going to use the data to change what you eat etc. But if you use the data to modify your diet testing can be very helpful. I found the bloodsugar101 very helpful, pay particular attention to the "How to Lower Your Blood Sugar" page.

Thanks Pat and BadMoon. I will get a meter on my lunch break today to see if my BGs are level, spiking, or dropping.

I'll also check the website to see if there is anything I need to change.

It's going to be hard for me on eating, I won't have alot of variety. Since I discovered my auto-immune allergies many years ago, alot of the healthy foods I grew up eating, now make me breakout in major hives--any kind of beans, peas, tomato, apples, oranges, onions, the list goes on. I freaked out my allergist when he tested me. :-) My allergist is the one that discovered I had RA. My PCP says I'm his 'special' patient because whenever I come in it's always something 'different'.

It went Graves - > Allergies - > RA - > Type 2 Diabetes, oh, well, it could be worse. At least I can test my glucose levels at home and not wait for a blood test.

Hi Kate!
What you’re describing is pretty familiar to me. I had this often pre-diagnosis, and only occasionally now. For me, it happens when I eat something that spikes my BGs. The sleepiness comes with a rapid drop in BGs. The key is to look at what you’re eating for lunch. If it’s a sandwich or pasta salad, that could be the culprit.

For example, on vacation recently, I splurged and had some French fries. I dosed my insulin properly for the carbs, but within an hour I was napping. As I was sitting under an umbrella at the beach, I didn’t mind. But I also knew that was likely to happen before I chose to eat them. :slight_smile:

I used to call this going into a "lunch coma" before I knew I had D. I was kidding, but the truth was when I had a high carb lunch I'd barely be able to function at work after. In retrospect I understand what was happening (high BG).

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under 30 grams? Can you give me a list of whst you eat in a days time?

If after testing your blood sugar, it doesn’t look to be the culprit, you may want to look into if you have a sleep problem. My daytime sleepiness, and generally waking up tired turned out to be sleep apnea. I didn’t snore or noticeably stop breathing at night (which isn’t uncommon for women) but turns out I was waking up every 2 minutes because I stopped breathing.

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I had the daytime sleepiness from hypothyroid. That is another potential thing to be looked into.

Dr. Bernstein’s diet is 30g/day and is broken into 6-12-12 for breakfast/lunch/dinner. I often can do 30g/day with eggs and meat or seafood for breakfast, a bowl of soup for lunch and a dinner that is meat or seafood entree, and several non-starchy veggie side dishes. I even have a very low carb ice cream recipe to cap the day. It takes some work but you can actually have a quite enjoyable low carb high fat diet. You don’t have to do 30g/day, but it sure as heck beats the ADA recommended 300 g/day debacle.


On this program I’ve been doing for the last six weeks, I’ve been having <30g/day at least weekdays. (Weekends a bit more, but averaging 45/g over the course of the week.) I’m not certain it’s working well for me, though – I have been having a complete loss off energy/sleepiness every afternoon around 3pm and “next to nothing left in the tank” around dinner time, which has hindered any exercise program I’d planned.

Working to figure out how to fix that.

I am also doing the 30 carb/ day plan as outlined by Dr Bernstein. My FBS in the low 100s was not enough to alarm my doctor, but I started to gain more weight and also have the daytime sleepiness. I ended up getting a meter on my own and found that my afternoon BS (1 hr after lunch) was way worse than I had expected. No wonder I was tired–the glucose wasn’t properly making its way into the cells, leading to fatigue. This is what prompted me to go very low carb (I was cutting down on them but not to this degree). I am new at this but I am seeing an improvement in the numbers and have more energy. Getting a meter is the way to go-- unfortunately, you have to be ahead of the doctor.

my opinion reducing carbs is key. 30 gems a day. Maybe a starting point.
My opinion is that you adjust that number to fit you.
Now I am not on insulin or any medication now(dx A1c12.0)
But I have upped the carbs sum, do more in the am and less at dinner.
If necessary I have a snack (6 carbs or so) mid afternoon if I am fading.
I try to keep my carb intake consistent for day to day, although I do supplement for runs, trainers active
I beleive BG are more important than total carbs. I keep mine between 80-110 (special meals a bit more) if I am starting a 5k run I try for 120 and add two 4gm shots along the way and usually end up around 90. (Read Bersteins chapter on exercise, his best chapter).
Sorry but can’t help on later day exercise, still can’t get the full energy I would like,
I long ago gave up counting every exact carb I consume. After 7 years I pretty much know what will happen. I am more of an eat to your meter type.
Current A1c 5.6


I would like to see your food list too!

I was reading through the different topics and this daytoime sleepiness and diabetes thread caught my eye. I was unaware that diabetes (I am a type 2) caused sleepiness. I have been feeling so tired even when I get adequate sleep. Any suggestions to help with this? Also would be interested in seeing information on the low carb eating. Thanks

There is a link here for a Paleo diet, Paleo is low carb but does not use dairy. I do include a little dairy in my meals, but the paleo people have some really nice low carb recipes.
Also if yoiu click on the 3 parallel lines at the top of the page, you will find a recipe section with lots of low carb recipes other diabetics have posted.