Safety Tips for Living Alone with Type 1

EDIT: on the situation has somewhat resolved itself, but I still would like to know about what others with T1 have done to protect themselves. My concern was mainly with lows during sleep...these are becoming a big problem all of a sudden, strangely. I have been much more vigilant (I finally gave up winging it and reactivated the low BG/high BG alarms, and I am trying to follow them religiously), and the result of having more reasonable blood sugars is also major insulin reactions.

I'm leaving the post below as is, so it will make sense for the responses...

ORIGINAL POST: I may be changing my living arrangements very soon and moving in an apartment by myself. Right now, I live with someone. Here's my question:

What are some safety precautions for type 1 people who live by themselves? I do have seven cats and a dog, so I know that they will alert me to low blood sugars and highs as well. I have a nasty tendency to drop out very suddenly and get into trouble when I am asleep.

Any type 1's who live by themselves...what do you do to stay safe? I do not want people to be intruding in my life, calling me (as my very caring family has done in the past)...I would like to have a life without that, if there is any way that this is possible. 


Do you have a cgm? If the alarms are good enough to wake you this might be helpful. It sounds like the biggest concern is lows during sleep? The only things that come to mind are setting alarms for middle of the night testing, lowering nighttime insulin to combat lows, and having sugar right beside the bed.  One thing you can try for 3am testing is to stay awake for 15 minutes before going back to bed, I read about a study that showed this was more helpful than immediately trying to sleep again (in terms of feeling ok the next day).

My wife is headed out of the country for 3 weeks on Friday.  she has had me swear to wake up at 1:30 am each night that she is gone.  (I have been doing it for about 4 months now, but she wants to be sure I will do it when she isn't there).  My point is, it IS possible to set an alarm, take a half-asleep BG, respond appropriately, and then go back to bed.  I do have a CGM, but the minimed CGM doesn't buzz enough to rouse me up.

Hey...well, it looks like I won't have to be concerned about strategies of this nature...but the situation today got me to thinking about what I would do to stay safe if I was alone. Thank you for your ideas. I think it is a good idea to have some sort of arrangement...

Hello Eric Carpenter...the other reply was for the second person...

I don't have a CGM but would love to try one. I think the situation today has resolved itself did make me wonder how I would handle living alone...

The fifteen minute wait time before going back to bed is some insight I will try...I usually am very tired from losing sleep, Staying up for fifteen minutes might help with this.

Thank you for your advice.

I just remembered the 15 minute period was used in a REM sleep study...substituting a REM cycle for being awake showed little difference.  I came across it in a text, I hope it is still helpful. I think I remember you mentioning access to a database before, so here is the reference:

Nykamp, K., Rosenthal, L., Folkerts, M., Roehrs, T., Guido, P., and Roth, T. (1998). The effects of REM sleep deprivation on the level of sleepiness/alertness. Sleep, 21, 609-614.

While you may have said things seem resolved I may offer a few suggestions. The first is being more aware of sugars before you go to bed. Have stuff right next to you that you can get to if you wake up low. I would suggest a small bottle of juice with the lid opened or the safety seal cracked. Cans of soda do you no good if you can't open them. Also, same with whatever food you have, be it glucose tabs, granola bar, skittles. In the past I have woken from a bad low, barely able to control my arms and hands. It is nigh impossible to open a can of soda or sometimes the wrapper on candy.

But also other things would be to play it safe. Set an alarm to test periodically to see if you are slipping into lows when you sleep. Test it while you still have people around. And lastly, don't be to proud to have someone call you some mornings to check in.