Hypoglycemic attacks in the middle of the night

a woman sleeping
From flickr: cvx_2k

Whenever I explain to someone that I’m hypoglycemic (usually apologetically while I pull out food to eat in the front of them) and what that means (eating every three hours), the number one question I get is, “Do you have to get up in the middle of the night too?”

The answer is, sometimes. It used to be 50% of the time, but I’ve gotten it down to about 20% of the time. Yes, it’s not fun.

What causes it

Usually, it means I ate poorly or decided lots of alcohol sounded like a good plan (you’d think I’d learn by now, but sometimes I’m FANTASTIC at forgetting). Those two factors, or really bad, the combination of both, mean I’m going to have a low blood sugar attack. But, sometimes it just happens.

How do I know when I need to get up?

My body wakes me up. It’s not a hungry feeling I get; it’s a feeling of panic. I feel scared, disoriented, and jumpy. Again, it’s not fun.

What do I eat when I get up?

My first choice is one cup of milk. Milk has the perfect combination of carbohydrates (about 12 g) and protein (7 g) needed for a snack. And, 1% milk is about 100 calories, so it’s not going to break you calorie-wise.

In the rare cases where I’m also hungry and a glass of milk isn’t enough, I usually grab a protein bar.

Taking care of your teeth when you get up in the middle of the night

In the movie Panic Room, Sarah Altman, who is diabetic, has a refrigerator as her bedside table. I don’t recommend this because it encourages you to eat and go right back to bed. You MUST take care of your teeth, so while you are up eating, brush your teeth. Unless, of course, you like a lot of cavities.

Side effect

Obviously, I’m pretty tired the next day, but I’ve also noticed that, for some reason, if I have an attack in the middle of the night, I’m FAMISHED the next day and can’t seem to get full no matter what I eat. Seriously, it’s like I traded appetites with a teenage boy.


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