As a young mom, I remember reading all kinds of books about how to help my baby develop healthy sleep habits. At the time, I tried my best, but I was convinced that my babies had their own minds already made up about how much sleep they were going to have — and how much sleep they were going to let their mom have, for that matter. Like any new mom, I was tired a lot and never thought I would see the day that my children (and I) would get a solid eight hours.

I can’t complain too much, though. I was pretty lucky that my babies slept pretty well. But year after year with five kids — one of whom was newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (which we all know is like going back to the newborn sleep schedule, right?) — really took its toll.

Fast-forward a few years, and it’s not my own sleep that I need to worry about anymore. I am finally through the dark tunnel of sleepless nights! I often wake up during the night to check blood sugar or to help one of the kids who is scared or upset, but it’s nothing like it was. I am actually a champion sleeper now, usually falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. If I fall asleep at a decent time, I’m pretty well rested in the morning.

However, I’m finding that the same is not always true for Kaitlyn. It doesn’t necessarily matter how early she goes to bed at night. Sometimes she gets really great sleep, and sometimes she has a really hard time sleeping. At times she tosses and turns all night, wakes up frequently, and never gets in a really good, deep sleep. She then wakes up completely groggy, and it’s apparent that she didn’t get the rest that she needs.

At first, I didn’t recognize any pattern, but I have since learned that her quality of sleep is very much tied to her blood sugar numbers and what she ate for dinner earlier that night. When she has a high, it’s like she’s sleeping but not getting any rest. She stays in a fitful sleep and wakes often. When she’s low, she wakes up not feeling well. It’s no wonder that after a night like this, she doesn’t want to get out of bed until late. Sometimes her grogginess can last most of the day.

We’ve got great tools, and we’re doing the best we can to make those nighttime numbers more tightly controlled. Not only is it better for her overall health and A1C results, but she’s so much happier when she gets a good night’s sleep!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

Related topics:
How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Type 1 Diabetes
People in the Know: Nighttime Blood Sugar Checks
Is It Really T1D That’s Keeping You Up at Night?

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