In the early days after my diagnosis I would frequently wake up with a thumping headache – and that, without the benefit of an over-indulgence in alcohol! It took me a little while to realise that what was happening was that my blood sugar levels were falling very low during the night, but recovering by the morning. At that time I was on 20 units of Lantus as my slow-acting insulin and, although it is not supposed to have a ‘peak’ in its action profile, it seemed that for me it was peaking around 2-3 hours after taking the injection.
The first step was to determine if I truly was dropping low during the night. For me, the symptoms are very different from a daytime hypo. During the day I would get hot and cold sweats, thumping heartbeat, shaky limbs and hands, and blurry vision. At night, as far as I’m aware, I just sleep through it – but then wake with that headache. Some people experience a ‘bounce’, so that the levels are much higher in the morning than expected. I don’t – I’ve always woken up ‘in range’. So, the only way I could find out what was happening was to do the dreaded 3 a.m. tests. Sure enough, I found that I was often dropping low at this time. Gradually, over a period of weeks, I adjusted my Lantus dose, observing and recording the effects. It seemed that, every time I reduced it, it needed reducing further – I began to think I had hit on a bizarre ‘cure’!
Now, I’m happy to say, my overnight levels seem to be completely stable after reducing my Lantus by 55%. But that’s for now, with diabetes, you never truly know what might happen tomorrow…
Things that go bump in the night will often alarm us and give us a fright,
But since diagnosis, there’s one thing I’ve found –
It’s not the creaks and the rattles that make my heart pound,
But something quite different, if control is too tight,
And that’s when my levels go low in the night…
Things that go low in the night: the temperature’s one, due to lack of the Sun…
And because there’s no Sun, then you’ll find there’s less light,
For despite it’s best efforts the Moon’s not as bright
But it’s none of these ‘lows’ that would give me a fright,
It’s a dip in my sugars, or the thought that they might!
So I’ve worked on my basal, and I’ve tuned it so fine
That my overnight levels stay just over the line,
But there’s always that chance, it’s a diabetic’s plight
That out of the blue, I’ll go low in the night…