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Diabetes & The Night Shift: Make a Plan to Make It Work

By Theresa Anderson, RD, CDE

Many people with diabetes work the graveyard shift with overnight jobs, or they rotate with other shifts. 

This can be a challenge for diabetes management. In addition, these shift workers are at increased risk for a variety of health concerns: sleep disorders, depression, heart disease, stomach issues, weight gain and even an increased risk of diabetes itself. 

If you are one of these workers, these tips can help you with your diabetes self-care:

  1. Plan meals ahead so you can bring healthy foods to work. Smaller meals and snacks through the night may be most helpful. Your dietitian can help you develop a plan to work for you.
  2. If your job is physically demanding, help prevent low blood sugar with routine meals. Be prepared for any lows by having your meter available, as well as your treatment preferences, such as glucose tabs or juice boxes.
  3. Work with your diabetes management team to develop an individual plan for your medications. This may need to change on work days, days off or days when you work a different shift.
  4. Testing your blood sugar regularly can help you identify patterns with your blood sugars that may change with your work shifts. A continuous glucose monitor may be especially helpful. Talk to your diabetes treatment team about this possibility.

Learn more tips for managing your diabetes, and new technology breakthroughs.