It would make sense that low blood sugar and sleep deprivation share some of the same symptoms: confusion, a vague sense of instability, lethargy, hunger, uncontrollable rage unfairly aimed at the family dog. Sleep and sugar are both things our bodies and brains run on, and when they’re in short supply, everything feels . . . wrong.
The difference between sleep deprivation and low blood sugar? One of these problems is easily fixable.
I know it sounds trite and ungrateful and cliché to complain about the lack of sleep that comes with a new baby. But I’ve got diabetes, too, and between those two factors, I honestly don’t believe I’ll get a solid night of sleep any time before 2024.
As much as people assure me that, at six months, little Magpie should be sleeping through the night, she’s just not. Old girl will go three to four hours, tops, but then she’s up for a midnight — or early morning — snack. And during those three to four hours, when I should be clinging desperately to every minute of sleep I can possibly get, I can often be found in the kitchen, draining a juice box or filling my face with Easter candy. Or I’m in the bathroom, rage-bolusing a high blood sugar from a low I overtreated earlier in the night, or changing my infusion set because the rage boluses aren’t working.
Somewhere along the line, my record of almost-perfect overnight blood sugars went off the rails. Now, it seems, I’m either climbing, or crashing, or it’s time to calibrate the sensor, or there’s a weak signal that needs my attention, or my CGM beeps and wails and screams just for its own amusement. Last Thursday I awoke to find that, in my sleep, I’d given myself a 5-hour square bolus of 10 units of insulin. I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing it happened while I was trying to silence an alarm. Thankfully, I caught it a couple of hours in — only 3.5 units had been delivered.
It’s a cycle. The breastfeeding affects my blood sugars, which keeps me from sleeping, which (I swear) affects my blood sugars, which causes me to overtreat a high or low, which sends me in the opposite direction, which wakes me up or makes me more tired . . . you get the idea.
The most tragic part of all of this is that sleeping has always been one of my favorite hobbies. Even when it seemed there was nothing else to look forward to, there was always a nap to be had. I collected pajamas and sheets and pillows the way cyclists hoard bike accessories.
Now I look at the smiling people on mattress commercials and want to throw things at the TV. I’ve got this weird perma-bag that hangs out under my right eye, fluctuating in puffiness according to how much salt and caffeine I’ve consumed in the form of microwave popcorn and Diet Coke.
I’m losing my damn mind, and even if there was something I could do about it, I’m too tired to try.
No insight to this blog post — nothing to learn or appreciate. Just me, complaining about the same stuff millions of other people soldier through every day. And really, I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me, and that’s okay. I’ve got enough self-pity to last a thousand sleepless nights.