Like many people, I always believed that I woke up in the middle of the night when my blood sugar was low. Nineteen years of four a.m. wake-up calls, stumbling into the kitchen and trying to restrain my half-asleep, sugar-deprived body from consuming the entire contents of my refrigerator taught me so. Last fall, I wrote an article about how that’s probably not true. In fact, the majority of our lows are probably unaccounted for, at least in those of us who don’t wear a CGM with a built-in alarm system.
Now that I’m on Dexcom, I’ve been intrigued as to whether or not there are any times when I normally would have slept through a low. For the most part, it’s been hard to tell which one is waking me up: the sensation of a low or the alarm. Last Saturday, I thought I had proven that I do always wake up, because I woke myself up with a low blood sugar and checked with the Dex because I couldn’t hear it alarming. Turns out, it was alarming and I just couldn’t hear it. So I woke myself up naturally from a low. Points for Allison.
But then last night happened.
This morning, I woke up and felt a little high. Not terrible, but a little off. I flapped my hand over to my nightstand to check my Dexcom, and I couldn’t find it. In fact, I couldn’t find it anywhere. My husband (the ever reliable sleuther in the family) found it under my pillow. Huh. Weird. I don’t even remember putting it there. At any rate, I checked to see what my blood sugar was. It read 217 mg/dl. Makes sense. Then I flipped back to see how my night was, and I saw something disconcerting.
You see that red section? That’s a low blood sugar of about 65 mg/dl. And it lasted about an hour, possibly more.
I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night, and neither did my husband. I sleep with earplugs, and the combination of that with the CGM under the pillow meant it was likely alarming for a long time before my body’s natural sugar kicked in and turned off the alarm. I have to say I’m surprised that I slept through the low knowing that the CGM alarms are supposed to be pretty loud. In fact, I even double-checked with my husband to see if he could recall us waking up in the middle of the night (me rummaging around when low usually briefly wakes him up).
Apparently, we slept through a low. I’m sure this has happened before. I’m sure it will happen again. But I can also say that I’m very thankful to finally have a CGM that can tell me in the event my body is unable to.
Of course, I’ll have to remember to keep it where I can actually hear it.
Has a CGM ever surprised you with a bit of information?