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KIDS With T1D Are Losing Sleep

If you thought parents were the only ones losing sleep over their child’s diabetes, think again.

At the Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD) conference in Barcelona, the quality of (or lack thereof) sleep in children and teens living with type 1 diabetes was a hot topic. Most of us are aware that a good night’s sleep is important for normal brain function, better mood, and overall health. However, in this category, children and teens are losing an average of 26 minutes of sleep per night and also experience more frequent sleep disturbances than those who do not live with diabetes.

As a mother of a child with type 1, I agree that technology helps with the overall quality of sleep, but it can also lead to sleep disturbances due to alarms. But that’s what it’s there for, right?  I can see the difference in my son when he has had a restful night. He makes better food choices because he isn’t just trying to find fuel for his body, and for a teenager, even his mood improves!

It is also worth noting that for teenagers, it is natural to go to sleep later and also NEED more sleep. The older kids get, the earlier they start school. This is a disadvantage for all teens, but especially those with type 1 diabetes who already have different sleep patterns and lesser quality of sleep. The early morning REM cycle is robbed, and this is what affects mood and mental health. The worse you feel mentally, the less likely you are able to care for yourself and your diabetes.

“You do not know how sleep-deprived you are when you are sleep-deprived.”

Adam Brown (author of Bright Spots & Landmines) recommends setting alarms to remind you that it is almost time to go to sleep.  This may be more important than the alarm you set in order to wake up at a certain time.  It allows for a more consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends.

A list of helpful tips are given in this article to help improve sleep habits for both people with diabetes and/or their caregivers.

For more information, check out this article by Adam at diatribe:


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