Nocturnal hypoglycemia

Nocturnal hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar levels at night in a person with diabetes. Blood sugar levels can drop below their target range at night if a person eats too little food after taking his or her usual nighttime insulin dose or takes more insulin than prescribed in the evening.

Signs of low blood sugar at night include:

  • Restlessness, unusual noises, talking, or nightmares
  • Waking up feeling tired or having a headache.
  • Having damp clothing and bed linens in the morning (night sweats).
  • Having a high blood sugar level in the morning.

Testing blood sugar levels at about 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. for a few consecutive nights may help a person determine whether low blood sugar is causing the symptoms.

Nocturnal hypoglycemia may be prevented by decreasing the evening insulin dose or by adding more food to the bedtime snack.

Last Updated: December 3, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology

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