Type 2 diabetes is a condition that means the body can’t produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Overtime, unchecked blood sugar levels could hike a person’s risk of developing life-threatening complications such as heart diseases. The blood sugar levels constantly change throughout the day and in the evening. In fact, night time is when the blood sugar levels could spike to dangerous levels overnight. This is why the food one eats before going to bed is crucial.
When a person sleeps at night the amount of glucose used is equivalent to the amount of glucose being released by the liver, so the blood sugar levels should theoretically be at the same level.
However there are two processes that occur during the evening that alter these levels and could potentially cause major problems for those with type 2 diabetes.
The Mayo Clinic explained: “The dawn phenomenon, also called the dawn effect, is the term used to describe an abnormal early-morning increase in blood sugar – usually between 2 am and 8 am, in people with diabetes.
“Some researchers believe that the natural overnight release of the so-called counter-regulatory hormones – including growth hormone, cortisol, glycogen and epinephrine – increases insulin resistance, causing blood sugar to rise.
“High morning blood sugar may also be caused by insufficient insulin the night before, insufficient anti-diabetic medication dosages or carbohydrate snack consumption at bedtime.”
When it comes to snacking at night, avoiding carb heavy foods is imperative.
These include bread, starchy vegetables, pasta, chips or crackers.
Doctor Michael Mosley said: “If you eat lots of carbohydrates and sugars, particularly the sort without fibre that get quickly absorbed, they will rapidly push up your blood glucose levels.
“If the glucose is not burned through some activity, the pancreas responds by releasing insulin into the bloodstream to bring the levels down again, storing the excess sugar as fat.
“Too much stored fat, particularly visceral fat can lead to serious health problems.”
For late night snacking, foods with a high-fibre, low-fat content are recommended to help keep blood sugar levels stable.
These include snacks such as nuts, certain fruits, vegetables or legumes.
A 2003 study looked at the impact of bedtime snack composition on prevention of nocturnal hypolgycemia in adults with diabetes.
The objective was to determine the impact of four bedtime snack compositions on nocturnal glycemic control.
The result was that the need for snacks at night is beneficial in reducing the incidence of nocturnal hypoglycaemia.