Wearing an insulin pump 24/7 can be a daunting experience at first, and perhaps the part that new pumpers dread the most is wearing it in bed. Sleeping with a medical device attached to you brings its challenges, especially if there is more than one of you in the bed, but these challenges are not as difficult to overcome as they first appear. Those accustomed to wearing a pump report fewer episodes of nocturnal hypoglycemia than injection users, so while it may seem unusual at first, you'll soon learn to appreciate the benefits of sleeping with your insulin pump.
Getting Comfortable With Your Insulin Pump
1. Try to forget it’s there. Much of the struggle of sleeping with an insulin pump is psychological. Trying to forget it’s there or to keep it from your mind may help aid the sleeping process. As long as you’re thinking about the pump, it will be difficult for you to get restful sleep.
2. Prepare those you share a bed with ahead of time. Part of the stress of sleeping with an insulin pump is based on how it may affect those you share your bed with. The easiest way to overcome this stressor is to speak openly with your family about your insulin pump.
3. Don’t be afraid of your insulin pump. Insulin pumps are designed for everyday use and are surprisingly resilient. The longer you live with your pump, the more familiar you will become with it and how it works. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with it and learning what it’s capable of.
4. Learn the risks. Sleeping with an insulin pump is extremely safe. The pumps have been designed to be worn 24 hours a day and are very resistant to issues like crimped tubes or accidentally pressing a button, but you should still be aware of the risks and how to address an emergency if it were to arise. The biggest risk associated with sleeping with an insulin pump is if it were to stop working overnight for some reason.
Choosing Placement of the Pump
1. Clip your pump to you. You have a number of options when it comes to where to place your insulin pump for bed. One way you may find comfortable is clipped to the waistband of your pants or shorts.
2. Lie the pump on the bed beside you. If you are uncomfortable with sleeping with your insulin pump attached to your clothing, you may choose to sleep with it on the bed beside you. Depending on the length of the tubes, you may want to inform your partner about where you place it.
3. Protect your skin from irritation. If you sleep with the insulin pump clipped to your clothing or near you in bed, you may want to take steps to ensure it can’t irritate your skin. Bare plastic can cause you to itch or even create a rash.
4. Place the pump near your bed. If you are nervous about rolling onto your insulin pump or pushing it off the bed, placing it near your bed on a nightstand or something similar may be best for you.
Keeping Your Glucose Levels Within the Target Range
1. Check your Blood Glucose levels frequently at first. For the first week or two, you will need to check your glucose levels very often to help you fine tune your insulin pump for your needs.
2. Pay special attention to your blood glucose levels at night. Your body handles insulin treatment differently while you’re sleeping, so you need to check your levels often until you have your settings just right.
3. Continue to check your night levels often. Even after you have your settings right, you should still check your blood glucose levels in evenings. Your body may change how well it handles the treatment and you may require alterations to your dosages or treatment plan.
4. Understand what causes low blood glucose levels. Low blood glucose can occur when you make changes from the normal activity accounted for in your treatment plan. Be conscious of the things you do that may affect your body’s insulin levels.
5. Look for the symptoms of nighttime hypoglycemia. You can identify problems before checking your blood glucose levels by learning what symptoms to look for when your blood glucose level drops dangerously.
6. Think about what you eat and drink. Some nights are bound to break the norm and involve different levels of eating or drinking, just make sure you take that into account before bed.
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