Daily diabetes management involves a lot of different things. There is making sure you eat balanced meals, get exercise, and finding time to manage stress and improve your mental health.
Another important part of managing your diabetes is checking your blood sugar levels throughout the day. All of those activities listed (eating healthy, physical activities, and managing stress) can affect your blood sugar. Knowing what your levels are throughout the day will help you better understand your diabetes and how it affects you. Everyone is different, and everyone’s diabetes is different too. For this reason, what constitutes “normal” blood sugar levels for one person may be different for another. Consult with your doctor to go over your blood sugar goals.
That being said, there are ranges that you should shoot for when checking your glucose levels—particularly at different times of the day. In this guide, we’ll be breaking down what normal blood sugar levels are for different age groups, as well as throughout an average day. At the end, we’ll offer some helpful tips and solutions to help you get your blood sugar back on track.
But first, let’s briefly go over some of the different variables that can affect your levels throughout the day.
Factors That Affect Blood Sugar
It’s important to understand the why behind your blood sugar levels. If they are higher than normal, what may have contributed to that? If they are lower, why might that be? Here are some of the most common factors that can affect your blood sugar levels one way or the other.
- The meals and snacks you’ve consumed
- How much physical activity you’ve gotten in
- Medications you’re taking
- Amount of stress
- Amount of water you’ve drank
- Any current illnesses you have (cold, flu, etc.)
- Menstrual cycles
- Alcohol consumed
Pro tip: Keeping notes or logs of the food you’ve eaten and water drank, the amount of exercise you’ve done, stress levels, and more will help you better see how each factor affects your blood sugar levels.
Now, let’s break down by age and time of day what your average blood sugar levels should look like.
Morning or Times of Fasting
When you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar level should be at its lowest because it’s been 7+ hours since you’ve eaten. Here is what you should expect your levels to be in the morning:
- Children Younger Than 6—80-180 mg/dL
- Kids Between 6-12—80-180 mg/dL
- Teenagers—70-150 mg/dL
- Adults 20 and above—Less than 100 mg/dL
Before a Meal
Prior to eating a meal, your blood sugar levels will be similarly low because it has been a few hours since you’ve last eaten. Here is what normal blood sugar levels look like before you eat a meal:
- Children Younger Than 6—100-180 mg/dL
- Kids Between 6-12—90-180 mg/DL
- Teenagers—90-130 mg/dL
- Adults 20 and above—70-130 mg/dL
After a Meal
Post-meal, your diabetes will fluctuate 1-2 hours after you eat. For this reason, it’s important to test your blood sugar levels to see how that particular meal affected it. Here is what normal blood sugar levels look like post-meal:
- Children Younger Than 6 —around 180 mg/dL
- Kids Between 6-12—up to 140 mg/dL
- Teenagers—up to 140 mg/dL
- Adults 20 and above—less than 180 mg/dL
Checking your levels before bed is a good way to ensure you wake up feeling good. For example, if you notice your levels are off, you can eat a quick snack to try and balance them. If you regularly have low or high blood sugar levels at night, check with your doctor about what you should do to get your levels back to normal. Here are the readings you should expect before going to bed:
- Children Younger Than 6—110-200 mg/dL
- Kids Between 6-12—100-180 mg/dL
- Teenagers—90-150 mg/dL
- Adults 20 and above—100-140 mg/dL
Tips For Balancing Your Blood Sugar
There are many different steps you can take to balance your blood sugar levels. Here are some of the most common and effective, which you can read more about here!
- Exercise regularly
- Manage your carb intake
- Increase your fiber intake
- Drink plenty of water
- Choose foods with a low glycemic index
- Manage your stress levels
- Get enough quality sleep
Resources For Managing Your Blood Sugar Levels
Here are some excellent guides and resources for specific ways to help balance your blood sugar levels and reach “normal levels.”: