Why Routine Benefits Your Bloods
We all love to be spontaneous sometimes. Maybe it’s a last minute short trip away or a night out with friends. If you’re particularly impulsive, maybe it’s buying a new puppy or a house. Whatever it is, it’s generally considered a positive and fun attribute.
Our daily life is a different matter though, as we navigate the tricky and often temptation rich allurements of life. Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, sugar. Like a wandering fish we’re hunted with bait, and we’re easy pray.
Diabetics are no different in our innate requirement for balance, and too much of a good thing can lead us into trouble.
We can sit and watch our blood sugars bounce around almost mirroring life’s ups and downs.
This is not specific to diabetes though, and we are seeing more and more doctors prescribing continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to non-diabetic patients to track their daily habits and provide a greater picture of their health. Blood sugar after all, is a fantastic bio-marker for health assessment and disease surveillance.
It is a useful habit as a diabetic to log your daily activity. Tracking our blood sugars, meals, exercise, and insulin regimen provides in-depth insights into what impacts our blood sugars and health.
Upon diagnosis, this is a frequent tool used by endocrinologists and diabetes educators as they assist their patients, but it’s also important to revisit this practice periodically, as we all fall out of and into bad habits.
Many industry-specific companies provide log-books but often these are generic, so believe the hypo is building one from the ground up to help us gain greater insights into our blood sugars (We’ll let you know once it’s ready).
If you track your blood sugars with pin-point accuracy, you will understand the true advantage of routinely imputing data into a log. It has huge benefits to our overall goal of diabetes management. But it’s just one part of a multitude of factors that affect our blood sugars and health.
The overarching factor for your life managing diabetes is creating a routine. This gives you a platform by which to organise and control your disease.
Shift workers will know better than anyone how difficult it is to maintain strict glycemic control with little to no routine. Their body is not following a circadian rhythm, they’re eating at random times and this impacts their sleep, digestion, mood and is even now noted by the international agency for research on cancer as a carcinogen,
Having a daily routine is underrated but has profound effects on a plethora of health markers.
1) Sleep - Having consistent and enough sleep is imperative to the overall functioning and reparation of your body and mind. Lack of sleep is associated with many serious health conditions and diseases. Being strict with your bedtime routine cannot be underestimated.
2) Food - Conditioning your body to specific time-frames for meals is very beneficial to your insulin levels, lowers insulin resistance and blood sugars. Eating during 10am and 6pm will give your body enough time for proper nutrition and avoid suppressing hormones like cortisol in the morning.
3) Insulin - Having structure for your insulin regimen is important as long as it follows your meal times and routine. Important reminders: no basal insulin will last 24 hours, so you’ll likely need to split the dose and no exogenous insulin behaves exactly like natural insulin secreted by your pancreas (I.e. It’s dangerous to behave like you don’t have diabetes because you have insulin to help you).
4) Stress - Taking time away from triggers of stress is integral in your daily life. This can take the form of exercising, meditation or mindfulness, hobbies, going to the movies etc. Stress is a companion to all things negative in your life, so remove it as much as possible.
5) Exercise - Get out: walk, jog, swim, play, anything that keeps you interested and mobile. You’ll need less insulin, the impact of food on your blood sugars is decreased and you’re less likely to die prematurely from a host of preventable diseases.
Things to think about.
1) Shift work - As we’ve mentioned, shift work is toxic. Diabetes or not, it is bad for us and needs to be avoided. Throw diabetes into the mix, and you really are facing an uphill battle.
2) Binge eating and drinking - Eating late at night disturbs out digestion and sleep. Eating high-carb food, particularly late at night, increases your chances of overnight hypos and hypers. Alcohol (as much as it pains me to say it), makes strict glycemic control more difficult and negatively impacts sleep. (however, here’s a study on how it can actually benefit diabetics when consumed in moderation - https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/38/4/723.abstract).
3) Travel - Taking a trip can disrupt your routine and also impact your sleep, blood sugars and insulin regimen. Always thoroughly prepare for every trip and take appropriate steps to minimise the impact.
4) Medical check-ups - Attending periodical medical appointments is imperative to practicing safe and diligent health surveillance. It’s likely your anxiety will rise sharply attending such meetings but the old saying “prevention is better than cure” couldn’t be any more true for a diabetic. Make sure it’s part of your annual routine.
The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine - Mike Murdoch
Life is for living and we have only one. Being spontaneous and thrill-seeking is what life’s about and should be encouraged. But there is also beauty in simplicity. In slowing down and taking time to enjoy the smaller things. Reading, writing, creating, learning, focussing on what matters most.
A daily routine should not have shackles. We don’t want to impede our life for the sake of something else. We want to add safety, security and good practice. We want to give ourselves the best chance of getting out alive.
Believe the hypo