Sleeping At College?

How do your college aged children handle their diabetes during the night ?

Do they have CGMs or do they set an alarm to wake at 3pm ? Are roommates understanding of this ?

My son is a junior and in the process of looking at colleges. I thought I had a year and a half to get ready but he is planning a week long camp on a campus this summer. He currently does not have a CGM. He is normally pretty stable at night even with hockey. But this camp will have different physical requirements and he will probably be guessing at the food carbs on a new menu.

Hi Hockey Mom!

Well… my daughter was dx’d while at college this past Sep 7 which was quite the game changer for her. Rather than come home she worked through it all even though she’s going to school some 2500 miles away from home. For the first 5 to 6 weeks she was waking up to an alarm every night around 3AM to check her BG and texting me with her number and a couple of times called with a question or two. We kept track of her levels prior to bed and waking up over that time period and determined that on average she was dropping about 29 points between hitting the pillow and waking up. So, now, she doesn’t wake up at 3AM anymore to check, rather, she just ensures that she goes to bed at 110 or above and sleeps through the night. If, however, she’s been particularly active during the day or has worked out in the evening, then she’ll ensure he BG is much higher prior to bed - as high as 140 or so depending on the level of activity. Clearly, everything is dependent upon how your son’s body reacts to different levels of activity and, of course, what types of food they’re feeding the kids at camp (or he’s eating at college).

My daughter’s roommate was awesome! When we explained Type 1 Diabetes; what Sarah has to do; the signs of a low; what to do if she has a moderate low; what to do for a severe low (we showed her a Glucagon instruction video), etc, well, she was eager to help out. We told her that Sarah would likely be just fine, but, things do happen, so, be aware… and if she’s acting weird or, for example, perhaps sleeping longer than normal then stir her to ensure she’s conscious. We also taped to the back of the dormroom door the signs of lows, moderate lows and severe lows (there was a chart in some pamphlet we were given, so, we cut it out) and what to do in each case. AND, we velcroed (sp?) a Glucagon kit to the back of the dormroom door as well so that her roommate, friends and RA would all know exactly where to find a kit in the event of an emergency (Sarah keeps one in her purse and one in her backpack as well). Lastly, we had her roommate (and friends) inject Sarah with insulin a couple of times so that she (they) wouldn’t be afraid to “stick her” if Glucagon was ever needed.

Clearly, counting carbs is the tough part, but, Sarah’s become pretty good at looking and guesstimating. The good thing is that she doesn’t drink alcohol at all (saw how it affected her stepdad and has avoided it completely), so, we haven’t had to deal with issues as a result of being drunk… skyrocketing blood sugars… overcompensating with insulin… etc. I’m lucky in that she’s really responsible. The more he understands how his body works and how these things can and will affect him, well, the better. I don’t necessarily condone underage drinking, but, having a conversation about drinking and partying at school will benefit everyone… even if that means giving him a beer, margarita, etc, at home so that he knows how his BG is going to react, then I’d say do it. Of course, if he’s truly deadset against it, then you may not need to. But, better to have him experiment at home, especially as a Juvenile Diabetic, than to experiment at college and run into trouble.

Lastlly, ensuring that he understands that his body WILL cause him problems if he’s not diligent with his management is key. We all know how we believe that things will just take care of themselves at times in our lives, but, this isn’t one of them. Until an artificial pancreas is developed this is something that always takes manual intervention (as we parents all know), but, convincing the youthful adults can be a challenge even if they’ve been dealing with this disease their entire lives.

So, all-in-all, sleeping through the night will be fine (though more difficult for you as it was for me I’m sure!). His roommates and friends will all wanna help, so, that’ll be fine, too. You’ll have to work with the professors, but, again, all doable. The biggest challenge is the kids themselves…

Hoping that helps a little!!


Hello… I’m not a very experienced type1 mom since my son was diagnosed in late March of his senior year in high school… not even a year ago… but it seems like a lifetime!

I was petrified as he left for college. But he owns his disease, and its care. He uses a regular monitor and is not on a pump. I’ve been worried, but he has been confident. And he has stepped up. I explained to the roommate on move-in day. The guy was terrific about it! He’s been a good friend without putting any pressure on my son.

The first A1C after semester one: 5.6. We’re walking on air.

Kids are very good about wanting to live. Count on your son.

My son was diagnosed May 5, 2010 and started college 1000 miles away August 9.He is also on the college soccer team. It was a difficult transition. In fact we are still struggling to bring his numbers in check. My son did not still check in the middle of the night, but I did worry. His room mates are aware of the situation, his coaches and trainers. There is also a students with disabilities he is registered with. This group helps him inform his teachers.The nutrition facts for the food in the dining hall is on the college website. You should check that out at both the colleges he is looking at and the camp. The doctor also adjusts his insulin to the level of training each day including the lantis at night. Have you discussed this with the doctors? My son checked many times after his games and training in the summer before college in order to better evaluate the trends to expect when he was away. Maybe that would help. When was he diagnosed? Good luck!

Dear Char, Congrats to your son! My son was diagnosed in May of his senior year and we are still struggling with his numbers. Partly his fault and partly, the doc says, his body. They are putting him on a continuous glucose monitor sensor this coming Monday for 72 hours to get a better understanding of his levels throughout the day and night. I am very proud of my son still and when we see the A1C 5.6, wow that will make my decade! Tell your son there is another mom out there that is very impressed! Great Job!

Greg was diagnosed a year ago in September at almost 16 years old. He is now on the Omnipod pump and very good about checking his BG and counting carbs on fast food when out with friends. He also checks and makes sure he is somewhat up bfore going to sleep and sometimes eats a protein snack at bedtime.

The lowest number we have had was a 32 last week when he got up early thinking there was soccer practice, eating and correcting a high from the night before’s hockey game along with a pod change, finding out soccer practice was delayed until 11 am due to the weather and falling back asleep on the sofa. I was so glad I was not working that day and came back by the house before running errands. I guess he over-corrected. It is just too scary.