Back to School: Adapting Your Diabetes Care Routine
Kids, dressed in their best outfits, line up for a traditional first day of school photo, while college students pack their cars for their move to campus. It’s that bittersweet time of year, as summer comes to an end and a new school year is about to begin. As you prepare for the changes that a new schedule will bring, consider these adjustments to your diabetes care routine.
Don’t let stress get you down
After a summer of relaxation, the reality of homework, busy schedules and social events can bring on stress. Both physical and emotional stress can trigger a rise in blood sugar levels. Stay persistent with your testing and exercise, to help keep blood sugar swings at bay.
To ease some stress, you may consider reassessing your testing schedule. If you find that you’re getting to school early everyday, set an alarm to test before your first class starts. Look for patterns in your schedule when you have extra time to test and make it a daily habit.
When you have a busy day, it may seem easy to skip your evening run in favor of watching tv on the couch; however, sticking to a consistent exercise regimen will help you cope with stress. For those with diabetes managing stress levels is important, as stress hormones can cause glucose levels to rise. If you find that you’re having more homework some nights than others, schedule a workout routine or group class for the days when you have extra time, and fit in two quick, 15-minute walks/runs on your busier days.
If exercise doesn’t necessarily put you in a relaxing mindset, simple techniques like breathing or mindfulness exercises can help you learn to better tame stress.
Have a game plan
Participating in sports is a great way to stay active during the school year; however, practices and games can make for some long days with irregular meal breaks. Start the day with a backup plan in mind, in case your dinner gets pushed back if practice runs late or you decide to meet up with friends after school at the park. Take a few minutes of preparation in the morning or at lunch to grab extra snacks or glucose tabs for a quick supplement when needed.
While at a sporting event, be mindful of the intensity and length of the activity as well as the air temperature. These are all factors that can contribute to hypoglycemia. Consider who can be a nearby go-to person in case you need assistance treating low blood sugar. This could be your coach or trusted friend who is aware of what your needs are and capable of providing you assistance. Be sure to keep with you a fast-acting glucose snack like fruit juice or a candy bar as well as testing supplies and plenty of water.
With advancements in technology, there are many tools at your fingertips to stay connected and keep your loved ones looped in on your diabetes health. A connected meter like the AgaMatrix Jazz Wireless 2, paired with the AgaMatrix Diabetes Manager App automatically syncs your test results, which you can share with trusted friends and family. Get connected and put your parent’s minds at ease while you’re out with your friends. It’ll make your life easier, without those nagging text messages.
Those with diabetes face challenges when it comes to achieving optimal sleep quality. Therefore, on school days, it is important to plan an earlier bedtime in anticipation for an early wakeup the next morning. Removing distractions and stimulating activities before bedtime are also good steps towards getting better sleep.
Consider setting your phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode 30 minutes before bedtime or leaving your electronic devices in the other room when you go to crawl into bed. The brightness of your phone or tablet can keep you up at night, so avoid using these devices if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night.
Caffeine consumption or even mild exercises at night can stimulate your body and prolong the process of falling asleep. Opt for caffeine-free beverages in the evening and allow your body time to calm down by reducing your movement as it gets closer to bedtime.
Sticking to a sleep routine and removing distractions at night will help you get better rest and maintain glycemic control.