A diabetic may think it’s beneficial to exercise right before going to bed, as this will lower blood sugar, and the idea is to prevent a blood sugar spike while asleep.
Blood sugar levels in diabetics can get dangerously high. What can be unnerving is the idea of experiencing a dangerously high rise in glucose while the diabetic is sound asleep.
Most people are not able to have a trained service dog that will alert its master when it detects blood sugar falling to unsafe levels.
So what to do? It may seem wise to put in a good exercise session before bedtime to get a head start on overnight glucose management.
The person with type 2 diabetes may believe that exercising very close to bedtime will prevent a dangerous plummet in blood sugar.
What happens during exercise?
When one exercises, the muscles need more fuel to sustain the activity. This fuel comes in the form of glucose. The glucose that is stored in muscle cells is called glycogen.
When working muscle cells run out of glycogen, they get replenishment from blood sugar. This lowers the glucose level.
But this is not how a person with diabetes should try to manage their condition.
“Exercising before bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep, so it is best for everyone to do their exercise earlier in the day or early evening,” says Dana S. Simpler, MD, an internal medicine physician with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.
“One should be relaxing in a darkened room for the hour or two before bed.”
Ideally you should have the computer and TV off for at least an hour prior to going to sleep.
A diabetic will not benefit from working out before bedtime, and instead should just follow their doctor’s orders when it comes to managing their disease.
Dr. Simpler received her medical degree from University of Maryland School of Medicine and has been in practice for over 20 years.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.