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How can we get better sleep when my child has type 1 diabetes (T1D)?

By BabySleepAdmin 1 year ago

Alice gregoryHow can we get better sleep when my child has type 1 diabetes (T1D)? Monitoring alarms wake me up all night. 

Technology can play a central role in diabetes management. For example, insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, and mobile phones can all play a role in glucose management. However, technology can also disrupt sleep via alarms, for example. Being woken at night can be extremely difficult to cope with for both children and parents – but waking during the night is sometimes essential, like when night-time hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) needs to be addressed. In some instances, families report being woken unnecessarily by alarms. If this is happening in your family, talk to your diabetes team (healthcare providers) about whether your alarm settings could be tweaked at night. This might help you to find the sweet spot between appropriate glucose monitoring and allowing restorative sleep.

Note, too, that sometimes technology can provide inaccurate readings. For example, glucose monitors can read ‘low’ due to compression (your child might be lying on the monitor causing a “compression low”, for instance) rather than actual low blood glucose. This can cause quite the stir during the night since you need to respond to all alarms even if they turn out to reflect inaccurate readings. Such issues are frustrating, but diabetes technology is developing all the time, so hopefully this issue will not exist with future iterations of glucose monitors.

Sleep is often impacted for those living with T1D and their family members, and this is unavoidable to some extent. It is particularly important to do what you can to get the best sleep available to you. You might want to follow tips including: allowing yourself sufficient time to sleep taking into consideration possible middle of the night disruptions (most adults need between 7-9 hours night – so think about whether your bedtime might need to shift earlier); having a consistent bedtime (where possible); ensuring a quiet environment (other than the necessary alarms) and a suitably cool bedroom; avoiding caffeine after lunch and alcohol before bedtime; and trying to fit relaxation and exercise into your schedule. If possible, you might want to consider taking shifts with another caregiver so that one of you gets up to respond to the alarms on certain nights, even if this is just for one or two nights a week, can help too.

Be sure to check with your child’s medical team with questions about overnight alarms for your child.

  Schedules & Routines, Sleep Problems, Special Populations