Easy Before Bed Routines for People with Diabetes

Hiral Patel

March 8, 2023

To keep your diabetes under control, you need to keep track of your blood sugar levels, medications, exercise, and eating habits throughout the day. In addition, it is essential to be conscious of your diabetic condition throughout the day. From your food plans and eating routines to your exercise schedule, you need to look after yourself until you hit the bed. Following a routine before going to bed at night can significantly manage your diabetes better and help you get a sound sleep every night. Diet and lifestyle changes are major determinants of diabetes. Hence, it is crucial to incorporate healthy habits to mitigate the severity of its symptoms. 

Here are some easy bedtime routine activities that you can follow to manage your diabetes better. 

Have Bedtime Snack

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may have faced what is known as the “dawn phenomenon” or “dawn effect”. Your blood sugar usually surges early in the morning, between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. The secretion of hormones early in the morning which enhance insulin resistance, inadequate insulin or prescription doses the previous night, carbohydrate intake before bedtime, or production of excessive glucose overnight by the liver may all contribute to this spike in blood sugar.

Consume a high-fibre, low-fat snack before bed to prevent the dawn phenomena. Two healthy options are Almonds with plain or turmeric milk, nuts milk with basil seeds or an apple with walnuts. These items will control the blood sugar and keep your liver from overproducing glucose. Also, keep your portion sizes minimal so you don’t go over your daily calorie or carbohydrate limit.

Walk Before Bedtime

When you engage in any type of physical activity, the body burns glucose to help you do the tasks at hand. As a result, blood sugar levels usually rise after we eat. As per studies,  going for a walk before bedtime is healthy for maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Being physically active makes the body more sensitive to insulin. Insulin refers to the hormone that signals the body to use blood glucose for energy release. By lowering glucose levels to normal, walking before night can help manage blood sugar levels.

Walking involves the movement of muscles in the body. During walking, your muscles generate a variety of chemicals that are beneficial for your vascular and circulatory health. This ensures a healthy and proper flow of oxygen and nutrients to places where required. This lowers the risk of diabetic neuropathy, eyesight loss, and heart problems. Increased blood flow might also help with joint health.

Check Your Feet for Sensitivity or Injury

Prolonged diabetes can result in loss of sensitivity in the feet because of nerve damage. This leads to the possibility of you being unaware of any scrapes or blisters on the feet, leading to potentially severe infections. Furthermore, high blood sugar levels combined with bad circulation make it more difficult for the body to combat infection. This places diabetics at a higher risk of amputation. 

However, timely and regular foot care can significantly lower your infection risk. Examine your feet every night for sores, cracks, ulcers, ingrown toenails, blisters, or other irregularities in your feet. Wash your feet with antibacterial soap and water. Dry your feet properly, particularly between the toes, and apply preventive bandages to any sores. As diabetes can produce dried, itchy skin because of elevated blood sugar and poor circulation, moisturising your feet should be included in your night routine. However, try to avoid putting moisturiser between your toes, where it may not be absorbed, as this might lead to infection.

Look after Your Mental Health

On being stressed, stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released. This provides you with enough energy to respond to a ‘fight or flight’ situation. However, these hormones instead make it difficult for insulin to perform effectively, also called insulin resistance. This leads to failure of cells in taking up the energy from the body, leading to increased blood sugar level.

Handling type 2 diabetes with testing blood sugar levels, exercising, and food planning can be difficult. It’s difficult to take care of oneself when you’re stressed.  As anxiety has a direct effect on blood sugar levels, it’s critical to control stress and improve your mental health. Reserve some time before bedtime after the day is over to de-stress. During  the hour leading up to bedtime, allow your body to relax and move into sleep mode. You can try meditating for a few minutes before going to sleep. You can try filling lungs by slowly inhaling and exhaling. Additionally, you can also listen to soft music and read books to lighten up the mood. 

Brush and Floss Your Teeth

People with diabetes must take special care of your gums and teeth. The chances of developing  gum disease and cavities is more amongst people with type 2 diabetes. Your saliva is sweeter than usual if you are suffering from type 2 diabetes. It can set off a vicious cycle wherein diabetes causes gum disease (periodontal disease), that raises blood sugar levels. This further aggravates the problem of diabetes management. Bacteria grow on sugar and can feast on it overnight. It is therefore important to brush and floss properly every night before bedtime. This will prevent food and bacteria accumulation, leading to healthy gums and teeth. 

Healthy Bedtime Snacks


Eggs are a high-protein food. One large egg contains 6.29 grams (g) of protein. Eggs also have a low carbohydrate content.

To add fibre, consume the egg combined with mixed seeds or a cucumber/tomato. Fibre leads to a slowed digestive process, allowing the energy release over a longer period of time. Fibre may aid in the stabilisation of blood sugar levels. Additionally, lutein and choline are two nutrients found in eggs. Choline is known to boost brain function, whereas lutein guards against illness. Biotin is found in egg yolks and is required for healthy hair, skin, and nails, as well as insulin synthesis.


Avocados contain less than one gram of sugar, little carbs, rich fibre content, and healthy fats. They therefore won’t spike your blood sugar levels. Avocado intake is also linked to a better dietary quality as well as a considerably lower body weight and BM. Avocados are therefore a good snack for diabetics, mainly because obesity raises the risk of getting diabetes. As per studies, Avocatin B (AvoB), a fat molecule present uniquely in avocados, decreases insulin resistance. It does so by inhibiting incomplete oxidation in skeletal muscle and the pancreas.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an excellent food choice for diabetics. They’re high in fibre, but they have low digestible carbohydrates. Chia seeds include viscous fibre that helps reduce blood sugar levels. This happens by lowering the pace at which food passes through our stomach and is digested. Fibre suppresses appetite and gives the feeling of being full. This is how chia seeds can help maintain a healthy weight. Soaking chia seeds in lukewarm turmeric water is a quick fix for before bedtime snacks.

Chia seeds may also assist diabetics in maintaining glycemic control. According to research, chia seeds can help you lose weight and keep your glycemic control in check. The glycemic index is a method for assigning a numerical value to carbohydrate-containing meals based on how much they raise blood sugar levels. Additionally, chia seeds  help lower blood pressure and inflammation.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Oleic acid, a kind of monounsaturated fat found in extra-virgin olive oil, can help with glycemic control, lower fasting and post-meal triglyceride levels, and contains antioxidant qualities. This is critical since diabetics have a hard time controlling their blood sugar levels and have high triglyceride levels. Further, oleic acid stimulates GLP-1, a fullness hormone, helping you feel full for a long time. This prevents overeating. 

Since extra-virgin olive oil is unprocessed, it preserves antioxidants and other healthy qualities of it. Additionally, Polyphenols are antioxidants found in olive oil. Polyphenols lowers inflammation, safeguards the cells that line your blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

Necessary Precautions

Make sure to not have excess food intake right before bedtime because that can be counterproductive for diabetics. Varied foods have different effects on people’s blood sugar levels. In the morning, check your blood sugar to see the amount and kind of food that would be ideal for you. Furthermore, people with  diabetes must take extra precautions and care for their feet. Diabetic people are more likely to have foot issues or diabetic neuropathy.

The Bottom Line

There are many medications available on the market to control diabetes. However, it’s important to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes to see significant results. Therefore, it is essential to have a healthy everyday routine and strictly follow it. 

How you end your day matters a lot when you have diabetes. Therefore, keep a track of what all activities you perform before bedtime and its result on your blood sugar level. That will help you analyse yourself better. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How many hours before bed should a diabetic eat?

A: The major objective for diabetics is to keep the blood sugar under control. It will be far less possible for your blood sugar to spike and drop if you stick to a regular pattern of food intake. High blood sugar (glucose) levels and associated health concerns like heart disease can be avoided by keeping a gap of 2-3 hours between dinner and bedtime. Whether you’re nibbling or dining late, post-meal sugar increase can lead to elevated glucose levels overnight.

Q: How can I control diabetes at night?

A: You can control diabetes at night by minimising the rise in blood sugar levels at night. After dinner, our blood glucose levels spike. Pre-existing insulin resistance makes it hard for the body to respond to insulin and absorb these glucose. To prevent this from happening, adopt small lifestyle changes like instead of lying down or sitting after dinner, go for a walk. You can have a light meal at night with low calories, low carbs and high in protein and sugar. Get sufficient sleep every night. 

Q: What should be the routine of a diabetic patient?

A: In the morning, examine your blood sugar levels. Make sure you have your medicines on time. Exercise for some time. Eat a healthy breakfast. In the afternoon, have lunch and perform a few physical activities like walking or lifting light weights whenever possible at work or at home. In the evening, have dinner with low calories and keep moving around. At bedtime, brush and floss your teeth, check your blood sugar levels again and walk after dinner. Get complete six to eight hours of sleep.

Q: What can I drink before bed to lower my blood sugar?

A: Drinking apple cider vinegar at bedtime can help diabetic people control their blood glucose levels. A diabetic patient should take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water before sleep. It can also aid in the regulation of fasting blood sugar levels in the morning.

Q: Can diabetics drink milk at night?

A: Milk is beneficial to your diet since it is a good source of calcium. However, it can be heavy in fat and carbohydrates.  The fat content in milk breaks and turns into sugar in the bloodstream,  elevating blood glucose levels. For diabetics, drinking too much milk regularly before night is not a good idea. Instead diabetes can opt milk in breakfast or consult diet expert to understand your specific requirements.

Q: What time should diabetics stop eating?

A: Mealtimes for most diabetics should be spread out throughout the day as follows: 

You should eat your breakfast an hour and a half after getting up. Afterwards, you can have food every 4 to 5 hours. In between meals have light snacks if you are hungry. Make sure to get done with dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime. 

Q: Is peanut butter good for a diabetic?

A: Peanut butter is high in essential nutrients and maybe a healthy addition to a diabetic’s diet. However, because it is high in calories, it is necessary to consume it in moderation. People should also check and not consume peanut butter that contains any additional sugar, salt, or fat. 

Q: Are bananas good for diabetics?

A: Carbohydrates are abundant in bananas. Carbohydrate-rich foods are known to cause a quick rise in blood sugar levels. A medium sized banana has 17 grams of sugar and 22 grams of carbohydrate. However, bananas are high in fibre. Bananas have a low glycemic index. People with diabetes can eat a small banana twice or three times a week. You should avoid a daily intake of bananas.

Q: Can diabetics eat cereal at night?

A: If you’re having cereal that’s high in sugar and lacks enough fibre, it can be bad for your blood sugar. Because of the excess release of insulin that the sugar induces, you’ll probably wake up hungry a few hours later or in the morning.

About the Author

According to Hiral, “Striving to be better than yesterday, is the key to achieving any goal that is ahead of you”. As a diet and lifestyle consultant, Hiral intends to help her clients inculcate habits such as healthy eating and regular exercise to improve their lifestyle holistically for a better tomorrow. She also aims to make her clients feel good from the inside-out and bring about a positive change to their overall life.

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