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The Challenge of Childhood Diabetes

September 2007 -
The Challenge of Childhood Diabetes Newsletter

Improving Night-time Blood Sugars

Laura PlunkettWelcome to the Second Edition of our Challenge of Childhood Diabetes Newsletter! This issue is focused on getting a good night's sleep and helping our children have safe and consistent overnight numbers. As parents, we have the responsibility to keep our children safe AND take good care of ourselves, so that we are all rested and healthy in the long run. In the first year after my son Danny's diagnosis in 2002, his overnight numbers appeared to have no rhyme or reason. My husband and I checked his blood sugars several times per night and often found him very high or very low.

Since that time, Danny moved from NPH and Humalog to Lantus and Novolog, and, finally, to an insulin pump. With every transition, his overnight numbers improved, but we still struggled with highs and lows, and we were exhausted. It wasn't until we looked at dinner and bedtime snacks, late afternoon and evening carbohydrate/fat intake and daily exercise levels, that we were able to tuck Danny into bed at an in-range number, check him once at 1:00 AM, and have him wake within goal range. I hope that our learning curve can help ease yours and that you and your family can sleep well.

My best to you,

Laura Plunkett

Supporting Each Other

Thank you to the parents who wrote in after the first newsletter and offered their tips for dinner and bedtime snacks. Here are some of the ideas below:

Hi Laura,

We had our regular appointment last week and my son's Hba1c is 5.9 for an eight year old! Diabetics can do it as long as they know the blood sugar number to carbohydrate ratio. Its all about the insulin and whole grains we eat for a true carb ratio...We eat only whole foods, nothing processed, and only whole-grain bread or pasta.

We eat dinner early to resolve night issues. I make sure not to serve any high-fat food, so he doesn't go too high. At 7:00, if he is higher than 180, I give insulin and retest at 9:30. At bedtime, I give him a half-teaspoon of natural peanut butter along with one corn chip which slowly digests. If he has had a regular day and no extra insulin on board, I sleep through the night. If not, I get up and test. I suggest parents log everything and make a trending pattern of what works best.

I hope this helps.

Julia Hart, co-founder of HighLow Diabetes, Newbury, MA

Hi Laura,

Here are some suggestions: One of our best dinners is some type of meat with kale, spinach or broccoli and a little brown rice. The braising cookbook will soon become our bible for this meal! At bedtime, snack is still a struggle. I am so tired of cooking! I found a gluten-free pretzel that doesn't spike him if I combine it with white bean dip made with tons of olive oil! I tried cold cereal as an experiment to see if I could figure out a way to use the pump so it wouldn’t spike him, but it creates BG havoc no matter what, so I gave that up.

Carrie McIntire, Worcester, Vermont

Share Your Tips

Do you have suggestions for helping your children maintain good glucose control and manage diabetes stress during the holidays? I’d love to hear from you at

September 2007

A Good Night's Sleep

Sleep is a very personal issue to each individual family. I offer our article, “A Good Night's Sleep with Diabetes”, published by Diabetes Health magazine and many stories in our book The Challenge of Childhood Diabetes: Family Strategies for Raising a Healthy Child to encourage you to look at your own family patterns, in case there are changes you could make that would give you all a better night’s sleep.

Food choices strongly affect nighttime blood sugars. If we give Danny white flour or white sugar foods before bed, he has high spikes and then dangerous lows, especially if he exercises during the day. Even knowing that you want your child to eat healthier foods at bedtime, it can be hard to help them transition. “Eating Healthier as a Family: Ten Small Changes that Can Make a Big Difference” at may give you some ideas for how to introduce foods that maintain good blood sugar control. Specific suggestions for snacks can be found in the Supporting Each Other section.

In addition, I have created a resource section on our web site, which offers recipes, food logs, links to other helpful sites and an archive of the other articles I’ve written.

The Challenge of Childhood Diabetes book
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