Cognitive function in type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients after nocturnal hypoglycaemia

Diabetologia. 1992 Sep;35(9):898-903. doi: 10.1007/BF00399939.


Eight Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients with no diabetic complications were studied on two consecutive and one subsequent overnight occasions. The aim was to evaluate the influence of nocturnal hypoglycaemia on neuropsychological and reaction time tests the following morning. Hypoglycaemia was induced by i.v. insulin infusion, blood glucose nadir was 1.5 +/- 0.3 mmol/l. Duration of hypoglycaemia (blood glucose less than 3 mmol/l) was 101 +/- 38 min. Whole night sleep statistics for all patients showed no statistical differences between the normoglycaemic and hypoglycaemic nights, however, there was a tendency of prolongation of the second sleep cycle in the nights with hypoglycaemia. Each patient was used as his own control and periods with blood glucose concentration less than 3 mmol/l were compared to exactly the same periods in nights with blood glucose level over 5 mmol/l. During hypoglycaemia the amount of deep sleep was reduced and replaced by superficial sleep and arousals of short duration. Further, the reduction in deep sleep was replaced later at night. Neuropsychological test scores and reaction time measurements in the morning showed no differences between the normoglycaemic and hypoglycaemic nights.

In conclusion: despite sleep disturbances, nocturnal hypoglycaemia did not impair cognitive function the following morning in Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / blood
  • Hypoglycemia / physiopathology
  • Hypoglycemia / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / blood
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology


  • Blood Glucose