What is a Sugar Spike?
Blood sugar spikes are caused when a simple sugar known as glucose builds up in your bloodstream. Most of the food you eat is broken down into glucose. Your body needs glucose because it’s the fuel that makes your muscles, organs, and brain work properly.
What are the General Reasons Behind a Sugar Spike?
There are several reasons why blood glucose levels may spike. These are:
Sleep: A lack of sleep can be especially bad for people with diabetes, because it can also raise blood sugar levels. One study performed on Japanese men found that getting under 6.5 hours of sleep each night increases a person's risk for high blood glucose levels. Prioritizing healthy sleep and promoting sleep hygiene are good habits for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes.
Stress: When under a lot of stress, the body produces hormones that make it difficult for insulin to do its job, so more glucose stays in the bloodstream. Finding a way to keep stress levels down, such as yoga or meditation, is essential for people with diabetes.
Exercise: Having a sedentary lifestyle can cause blood sugar levels to go up. In addition, exercise that is too difficult can cause stress and blood glucose levels to rise. With diabetes, it is important to get light to moderate exercise regularly, as opposed to pushing too hard.
Medications: Some medicines can cause blood sugar levels to rise, such as corticosteroids, diuretics, some blood pressure medications, and some antidepressants. A person with diabetes must let their healthcare provider know if they are also taking one of these medications. In addition, taking the wrong dose or missing a dose of insulin can also cause the blood sugar levels to spike.
Smoking: Smoking cigarettes can make it difficult to keep blood sugar levels low. A person who smokes should make it a priority to quit. Their doctor or local health service can provide resources if needed.
Foods: Eating foods that are high in sugar or carbohydrates are more likely to raise blood sugar levels. One way to track how a particular food will affect the blood glucose level is by looking at its glycemic index (GI). The GI measures how much a carbohydrate will affect the blood glucose level. Foods with a high GI (70 or greater) include bagels, popcorn, or crackers. Foods with a low GI (under 55) include barley, bulgar, corn, and sweet potato. People with diabetes should try to eat low GI carbohydrates.
How Does a Diabetic’s Body React at Night?
Having diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean that your sleep will be impacted. It’s more a matter of what symptoms of diabetes you experience and how you manage them. Certain symptoms are more likely to cause issues when you’re trying to rest:
High blood sugar levels can cause frequent urination. If your blood sugar is high at night, you could end up getting up frequently to use the bathroom.
When your body has extra glucose, it draws water from your tissues. This can make you feel dehydrated, prompting you to get up for regular glasses of water.
The symptoms of low blood sugar, such as shakiness, dizziness, and sweating, can affect your sleep.