Sleep Aides

I’ve always understood that any kind of sleep aide was Taboo for an insulin dependent Diabetic. Because it might hinder our ability to detect a nighttime hypo. But life’s stresses have been reeking havoc on my sleep recently. So I’m wondering if there’s any kind of sleep aid (prescription or not) that can be used by T1’s.

Ken, I have had insomnia all my life even as a child. I guess I learned to live with it in various forms - trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep, blah blah. Then, about 5 years ago I was going through a very severe depression and my shrink and primary decided that sleep was important. (I was so sleep deprived that while driving to work I’d doze off at the stop sign and take my foot off the brake.) We talked about the options and about my bg patterns during the night. I tried Ambien and it did nothing. I tried Sonata and it did nothing. Then I started taking lorazepam and it worked, but I was very concerned because everywhere on the web said “for short-term use only” and that there was a big chance of dependency. But I liked getting some sleep and felt that if both docs agreed, they knew better than me. The l. worked for a couple of years and then suddenly stopped. Now I take temazepam, a med in the same family. I have asked every pharmacist I come in contact with about them, and most agree that it’s okay to take them long term, as long as you don’t exceed the dosage. In between the last two I tried Lunesta, which did nothing - plus it’s extremely expensive.
I get up during the night to check my bg, and have no problem waking up and falling back to sleep. I have also not had a problem with fuzzy thinking - i.e., evaluating my bg and calculating a correction, etc. I do not use an alarm, but rather drink about 10 ounces of water before bed so that I naturally wake up to go pee.
However…I do know some people where sleep meds totally knocks them out cold. I would thoroughly discuss this with your doc and start at a very low dose.
Getting consistent good sleep is wonderful. I never knew what I was missing until I started the meds, and wish I’d done it years before. Good luck to you.

My whole family has sleep issues. I take ambien and it does knock me out, but even though I no longer have big time symptoms for lows, for some reason I always wake up when experiencing a low, even below 50, go figure. Oh, and the astronauts use ambien. :wink:


Thanks to all for the great replies. I’ll bring it up with my Endo at the next appointment.

I use melatonin, too.

I cut the 3 mg pills into quarters with a pill splitter, because I read that lower doses are more effective than large ones. The lower dose Trader Joe’s brand don’t work for me, though. I use Nature Made.

I wake up just fine if I have to pee or something like that, but it is very easy to go back to sleep if I wake up.

A note for other people reading. You aren’t supposed to use melatonin if you are under 40 years old. Not sure why, but that’s what they used to say on the labels.)

I think, too, that it might have a subtle effect on raising my fasting bgs, but not by much.

Ken I also now see that someone has put up a discussion on sleep apnea. Do you think you might possibly have this?

It’s not sleep apnea. It’s work stress related and having a 19 yr-old daughter coming home late waking me. I’ve removed some of the stress issues and my daughters been staying at a friends or home early, so my sleeps been much better recently. I think when my stress level gets high again, I’ll try the melatonin. I’ve used that before when I’ve traveled overseas without any negative effects.

I’ve never taken a prescription sleeping pill, but I’ve used diphenhydramine (many OTC brands use this… same ingredient as in Benadryl) without a problem many times. They don’t knock you out so much that you can’t wake up in an emergency. Have also tried valerian pills with some luck. Melatonin works for some people.

I am a type 1 diabetic and I have had alot of difficulty sleeping in the past. I take a calcium supplement (in a softgel, the body can assimilate that better than tablets. I get mine from Puritans Pride. a magnesium supplement and drink Peppermint tea at night. (ask your dr. before taking the calcium and magnesium. You can have problems with toxicity if you are getting too much) You might need a good multi vitamin too. My dr. is a diabetes specialist and he always asks if I am taking my vitamins when he asks me if I am taking my other meds and insulin on time. He can’t stress the importance of diabetics getting enough vitamins and minerals enough. Diabetes puts alot of stress on the body, therefore our bodies need an additional boost. Often times when diabetics can’t sleep, it’s because our bodies are not getting the proper nutrition to handle that stress on top of lifes other stressors. In the past, none of my dr.'s ever mentioned taking vitamins before. I’m guessing most other dr’s don’t do it either. If your dr. hasn’t mentioned vitamins to you, you should ask your dr. if it would be ok for you to take them and see if you don’t see improvements in not only your sleeping patterns, but also other areas like memory, alertness, energy and even physical strength and stamina. I have also noticed that drinking more water during the day helps me to get a better nights sleep also.

Oh sister, you had a beautiful experience. I firmly believe that there are forces that assist us in “nonordinary reality”. Tell her thank you and ask her to come visit again.

I have taken ambien and I make sure my bs is at least 115 before bed. I sleep better and I still wake up and take my bs and fall right back to sleep. I don’t recommend taking them all the time. They are addictive.

I am like Kathy, I take temazepam, as well as a few other medications at bedtime that cause drowsiness and I have never had a problem waking up from night time lows.

I take ambien too, and I was really cautious when I got diagnosed with type 1 recently and so made sure to discuss it with my endo thoroughly. She thought it was no problem. Another issue is if you aren’t sleeping you might get so tired during the day that you don’t take proper care of yourself, which would probably put you more at risk for lows than taking something to help you sleep. And, contrary to what some people think, the addiction factor for something like ambien is not that high — the only kind of dependency is if you like it so much you get scared to go without it.
Otherwise I think people who take it for 6 weeks get like 1 night of rebound insomnia when they stop suddenly, which is not a big deal and I find I can stop just fine without rebound problems. Sonata is like ambien, although it gave me bizarre side effects when I tried to take it years ago.

Amitriptyline is also an option but I don’t think thats prescribed in the US very much for insomnia (although pretty standard in the UK). This is just a guess based on my experience, I could be wrong.

My neurologist has me on elavil for the neuropathy at bedtime

Ken, whatever happened? Did you get a prescription? Or did your sleep just straighten out on it’s own?
Please let us know how you are doing.

i was recently diagnosed with type 1, i am 48 years old this month and was on the amitriptyline for joint pain when i became diabetic. While they took the anti inflammatory drugs away from me, think they caused the pancreas problem, they did let me keep the amitriptyline and the darvocet for pain and to sleep. I have chronic nervitis and tendonitis in my right arm fromthe wrist to the shoulder, along with arthritis in the colar bone and bone spurs on the shoulder joint and have alot of pain and sleeping is very hard for me. i haven’t had any problems with either one bothering my sugar but then i do tend to be somewhat uncontrolled yet. after all i have on ly had it for the past three months and am still adjusting insulin.

I don’t worry about my blood sugars at night but I find it takes a good hour to fall asleep.This only started at the beginning of July.I don’t recall being up all night but I feel like I haven’t had any REM sleep.Could ketones cause insomnia?I have been getting small amounts for a few days now.I increased my basal rate to help with this problem.

I’m not waking up due to a hypo regardless of what I do or don’t take, so avoiding sleep meds because of diabetes is rather pointless for me. I have to know my sugars. Perhaps if I ever get a CGMS and want to hear an alarm, I might change my opinion.

Since I started low carbing three years ago and especially now that I eat very few carbs, sleep is not a problem. Honestly, my body works a whole lot better now – sleep, sex, exercise, and mental.