I’ve been a little out of sorts for the last week or so and this has translated to me feeling a bit distracted, and not sleeping well. I’d forgotten about not getting a good night’s sleep, because Loop completely and utterly changed the way I sleep. Here’s the thing, though: when I  am not sleeping well, my glucose levels are far less predictable. And then, when my glucose levels are far less predictable, I sleep less. And so, I enter a cat and mouse chase as I step in and try to sort things out when really, I should stop. And try to sleep more.

I’ve thought about this as I skim through posts about raising awareness of diabetes. Because I realised that in the eagerness of doing the very important work of trying to #MakeDiabetesVisible to everyone else, and raise awareness of what living with diabetes is truly like, I am still becoming aware of things myself. It flies in the face of my belief that this month isn’t about those of us who have diabetes – it’s for the people who don’t, so that we can hopefully improve their understanding of the seriousness of diabetes.

But actually, in the last few days, as I’ve been a little more introspective – and awake more –I’ve become aware of the impact of sleep. Or rather, the impact of the lack of sleep.

I talk a lot about how all-encompassing diabetes is: about the burden of diabetes. This is different for everyone, and in the past I have spent a lot of time (some might suggest navel grazing) trying to define the things that contribute most to that burden for me.

Since I started Looping, I regularly say that I feel less burdened than I ever have.

That is true. And when I think about it makes perfect sense. The automation of Loop means doing fewer diabetes tasks, and that means less burden on the physical things I have to do. It has also resulted in significantly reducing swings in glucose levels. These things alone save me a lot of mental energy. And physical energy too. And keeps my mood far more even.

But this last week; a week that I have felt a lot more needed from me emotionally, diabetes has struggled too. Loop is brilliant at chugging away in the background and keeping everything as stable as possible. Night-times are brilliant because there are far fewer of the contributing factors that send our glucose levels into disarray.

However I have spent more time awake, meaning less time for just chugging and more time for needing to fix things. The less I sleep, the more Loop has to do. And sometimes, it doesn’t cope all that well – especially if I step in to try to give it a ‘helping hand’.

Sleep is so important. We talk about food and exercise and medication and how they impact on our glucose levels. We talk more about the result of stress on our diabetes management. We know that when we get right the equations about those factors and our glucose levels are less variable, we feel better. But sleep? I honestly don’t think that anyone has ever spoken with me about sleep.

Sleeping more is a regular issue for me. I get a second wind late at night and suddenly decide that is the time I should really do some work. Plus, having friends around the globe means needing to negotiate time zones. When they are awake, I often should not be, yet marathon message sessions often happen and that delays sleep too. It works both ways. I’m conscious that good times for me to chat are not necessarily ideal for those in a different hemisphere! Oh – and then there is jet lag. Ugh…jet lag.

Adam Brown has devoted a whole chapter of his book ‘Bright Spots and Landmines’ to the issue of sleep and diabetes. I think I need to have a reread. But more broadly, I think we need to better address the issue of sleep for those of us living with diabetes, because once our quantity and quality of sleep starts to affect our glucose levels, the way we feel overall significantly changes.

I’m feeling much more like my usual self today. I slept a little better last night and my CGM trace has been far nicer; Loop has been able to cope much better, and my time in range has returned to what I have become used to. All in all, it adds up to me feeling like I usually do.

Unfortunately, even with the improved night’s sleep and more time in range, I still wasn’t thinking clearly enough when I chose this colour for my nails. I’ve no idea what to blame for that ill-advised choice, but probably should have learnt by now that awareness raising for diabetes does not need to extend to blue nail varnish. Alas, I have not …

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