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How does time change affect diabetes?

It is that time of year again when we shift our clocks to “spring forward.” The good news about this is longer days ahead with more sunlight. But that first week can be a little challenging. Skipping ahead an hour can make you feel a little groggy the next few days; not to mention it can play games with your blood sugar.

Our bodies are finely-tuned machines. In the morning when it is time to wake up, our body knows to release cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress. Back in the day it was vital for helping us escape from a chase with a tiger, but today it helps us get out of bed. That release of cortisol triggers an increase of glucose (sugar) production by the liver. Again, fueling your energy for that chase with the tiger. When these things happen, for people with diabetes, it creates a need for an increase in insulin to level out your blood sugar. “Optimally performing cortisol follows a pattern called the ‘cortisol curve’. In a healthy curve, cortisol is high in the morning and tapers off through the day and evening — like a slow-release energy pill that wears off just in time for bed,” says functional-medicine practitioner Sara Gottfried, MD.

Once we are in a routine of waking up and going to bed around the same time each day, our bodies know when to release these hormones, and your medication has been timed accordingly. Now, when we change time, it may throw you off a little - especially that first week. It may take a some time to get your body back in balance. Give it a week or two; your body needs time to adjust, and it should. However, “If your energy starts to run low during familiar activities, it could be a warning that your cortisol pattern is disrupted. Catching more colds or having a shorter emotional fuse are other early signs,” says Filomena Trindade, MD, of the Institute for Functional Medicine. Talk to your healthcare team if you are experiencing any of these signs.

Adjust your blood glucose meter for Daylight Saving Time.

Check out Accu-Chek how-to videos on YouTube.

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“Circadian Rhythm.” Diabetes Self-Management, Diabetes Self-Management, 23 Nov. 2009, www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/circadian-.... Accessed April 4, 2019.

Millard, Elizabeth. “The Cortisol Curve.” Experience Life, Life Time, Inc., Mar. 2016, experiencelife.com/article/the-cortisol-curve/. Accessed April 4, 2019.

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