Q: How often should I check on my child in the night?
A: I know this is a common worry for parents. It’s even one of mine.
Parenting a child living with type 1 diabetes day in and day out may be draining. Add lack of sleep to the mix, and it’s no wonder we’re sometimes cranky! Many parents wonder about how often they should check their child’s blood sugar overnight.
You can ask your care team for their recommendations on overnight blood sugar checks. As my daughter’s treatments and devices have changed through the course of her care, we’ve had to check her either more or less often at night, depending on our doctor’s recommendation.
I know that when my daughter has a late afternoon or evening sports or dance class, her blood sugar tends to drop hours later, often at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. On those nights, I make sure to check her blood sugar. We’ve identified a pattern, so we know the best time to do those extra checks.
I will say that it can be difficult to be a good caretaker during the day if you aren’t sleeping at night. If you have a spouse or partner, you could take turns being responsible for overnight checks. We often check our daughter before we go to bed and if her blood sugar is good and we don’t anticipate any problems overnight, then we call it a night. And I feel a little more confident now that she uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) because it will hopefully wake me if her blood sugar changes too much in the night.
There is no single answer on whether or not to check your child’s blood sugar overnight and how many times to do it. You can ask your care team for recommendations, but, in my opinion, you also have to go with your gut. At the end of the day (or in the middle of the night!), only you know what’s best for your child.
For more articles about parenting children with diabetes, visit The DX archive.
Leighann Calentine is the author of the book Kids First, Diabetes Second and the D-Mom blog. She is married with two children – including a daughter with type 1 diabetes – has a graduate degree, and works for a major university doing research. Calentine is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
© 2013 The DX: The Diabetes Experience