I hate time changes. They mess with my system and leave me feeling out of sorts for days. When you live with type 1 diabetes, time changes also impact how you deliver your insulin. Whether you are injecting or using an insulin pump, here are a few things that you need to know about time changes and diabetes.
Dealing with daylight savings time on multiple daily injections
The D-mom Leighann Calentine has a great way of handling daylight savings time when on multiple daily injections. Because your long-acting insulin should be taken within 30 minutes of the regular time each day, she would change the injection time of the background insulin by 15 minutes every couple of days. Within the week, they were back to injecting at the regular time under the new time change.
Talk with your diabetes team to see if this will work for you.
Dealing with daylight savings time using an insulin pump
When dealing with time changes of less than 2 hours using an insulin pump, it is suggested that you simply change the setting on the insulin pump’s clock and continue with your day. You will want to keep a close eye on blood glucose levels over the next week to ensure that your body has properly adapted to the change. One final word of caution is to make sure that when you change the time setting, you do NOT inadvertently change the am/pm setting of the pump.
Many of us have changed the time on our pump or glucometer, only to later realize that we are now 12 hours off the actual time.
Traveling through multiple time zones with diabetes
Many of us love to travel. Having diabetes should not stop you from traveling but there are a few things that you should remember when switching time zones.
Traveling through multiple time zone when using insulin injections
According to Endocrinologyadvisor.com, if the time change is only 1-2 hours different from your home time, take your insulin as usual at your home before you leave. Once you arrive at your destination, begin injecting using the local time.
It gets a bit more tricky is you are traveling to a time zone that is 3 or more hours in difference from where you live.
When you travel east, your day will be shortened. According to veteran travellers from dreambigtravelfarblog.com, on the day you travel, inject your basal (long-lasting Lantus or Levemir) insulin 2-3 hours earlier than normal. On your first day at your destination, take your background insulin (Lantus/Levemir) 2-3 hours earlier than normal, local time. The next day, give yourself a basal insulin dose at what would be the “normal” time of day for you back home, but at local time.
When you travel west they suggest that on the day you are to traveling, you take your basal insulin (Lantus/Levemir) injection 2-3 hours later than usual. On your first “full day” back in your home time zone, take your long-lasting insulin 2-3 hours later than usual, on local time. The following day you would be back to your normal timing for basal injections.
Traveling through multiple time zones with an insulin pump
Things are a lot easier when you are using an insulin pump. Set your insulin pump clock to the new time zone and date either during your travel or once you land. Monitor your blood glucose closely for any changes that you may need along the way. You may need to set different basal patterns or use temporary basals while you adjust to both a new time and most likely a different level of activity.
Jetlag and diabetes
Even if you have your insulin injection time figured out or your pump set to local time, getting the rest of your body on board with a new time zone can be challenging. The blondeabroad.com suggests that the best way to overcome jetlag is to force yourself to be awake and asleep at the same time as those people at your destination.
If you get on the plane and it is time to sleep in the area you are going to, force yourself to sleep on the plane. If your destination location is awake and you are on an overnight flight, force yourself to stay awake.
Time changes and type 1 diabetes can be a challenge but the sooner you can get your body and your insulin routine switched over to your new time, the better you will feel!
Before you travel, make sure to speak with your diabetes team to see if one of these suggestions will work for you.
Get more tips on traveling with diabetes in our travel ebook.