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Why Are My Blood Sugar Levels Higher In The Morning?

How To Fix High Morning Blood Sugars (dawn Phenomenon)

How To Fix High Morning Blood Sugars (dawn Phenomenon)

There are various possible causes of a high blood sugar level in the morning: The Dawn Phenomenon which is a natural rise in blood sugar due to a surge of hormones secreted at night which trigger your liver to dump sugar into your blood to help prepare you for the day. Having high blood sugar from the night before which continue through the night into the morning. Reactive hyperglycemia which is also called the Somogyi Effect. This is when a low blood sugar in the middle of the night triggers your liver to dump sugar into your blood in an attempt to stabilize your blood sugar. Why Are My Blood Sugars High in the Morning? There is a simple strategy for diagnosing the source of high blood sugars in the morning. Test your blood sugar before bed. Test your blood sugar in the middle of the night. Test your blood sugar in the morning. It takes a little bit of effort, but you only need to do it a few times to diagnose the issue. TheSomogyi Effect is less common than the Dawn Phenomenon, according to an article published by The Polish Journal of Endocrinology. To diagnose either of these phenomena, scientists recommend checking blood sugar levels for several nights specifically between 3 a.m and 5 a.m. or using a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM). Many healthcare practitioners are now offering the use of a loan CGM for a few days which can be helpful to observe nighttime blood sugar activity. How to Fix High Blood Sugars in the Morning The Dawn Phenomenon refers to a surge of hormones excreted by your body in the early morning hours. These hormones rise each night around the same time to prepare your body to wake. Basically, your body is starting the engine, releasing some fuel, and prepping to go for the day. The Dawn Phenomenon occurs in all humans regardless of whet Continue reading >>

Why All The Morning Highs?

Why All The Morning Highs?

Sometimes diabetes doesn’t make a lot of sense. Think of those mornings when you wake up to find your blood glucose looking as if you’ve been up all night eating cookies. What’s up with that? You’d think that not eating for those seven or eight hours would give you lower blood glucose, right? Such morning highs are common in people with diabetes, but one of the reasons has a particular name: the dawn phenomenon. The dawn phenomenon is a natural rise in blood glucose between 4 and 8 a.m., which happens because of hormonal changes in the body. All people have the “dawn phenomenon,” whether they have diabetes or not. People without diabetes would never notice it happening, as a normal body’s insulin response adjusts for this. However, because people with diabetes don’t have normal insulin responses, they may see an increase in their fasting blood glucose. This is primarily because people with diabetes produce less insulin and more glucagon than they need. The less insulin produced by the pancreas, the more glucagon the pancreas makes as a result. Glucagon, in turn, signals the liver to break down its storage supplies of glycogen into glucose. This is why high fasting blood glucose levels are commonly seen in patients with type 2 diabetes. The effects of dawn phenomenon vary in each person, and your blood glucose may be higher on some mornings than on others. But not to worry—there are steps you can take to get those numbers down and start your days more comfortably in your target blood glucose range. Treatment for dawn phenomenon depends on how you treat your diabetes. If you take insulin, you may be able to adjust your dosing so that peak action occurs closer to the morning rise in your blood glucose. If you have type 2, diabetes pills provide options as Continue reading >>

Why Is Blood Sugar High In The Morning?

Why Is Blood Sugar High In The Morning?

Here you'll find info about why blood sugar is high in the morning, along with tips and resources to lower those numbers! A while back I had a client sending me her blood sugar charts every few days and on those charts she always made some notes if she had questions. Every time she sent them through, I noticed she had 3 big question marks (???) against her morning blood sugar results. And on another morning when her morning blood sugar levels were high at 160 mg/dl (or 8.9 mmol/l). She had written: I don't understand. 97 mg/dl (or 5.5mmol/l) last night when I went to sleep. I didn't eat anything because I didn't feel well. Humm… I was also over in one of the online diabetes groups I'm involved in today and this message popped up. I'm struggling with my morning BS number. When I went to bed around 11PM my BS was 107. I'm waking up with my BS between 120 – 135. I did put two pieces of string cheese next to my bed and when I woke up around 3am, I ate one. Since I was told to eat protein at night. When I woke up 3 hours later my BS was 130. I didn't want to eat anything large since it's so close to 140 (my goal is to keep it below 140). So I had 1 piece of toast (sugar free wheat bread) and just a tiny bit of peanut butter. I checked it an hour later and it was 161! What am I doing wrong? Do these morning situations sound familiar to you? Are you constantly questioning: Why is blood sugar high in the morning? I mean, logically we'd think that it should be at it's lowest in the morning right? Well don't panic, there is a reason for it, so let's explore why morning blood sugar is often higher. And at the end, I'll also point you toward some resources to help you lower those levels. Why Is Blood Sugar High In The Morning? Although it would seem logical that your body would Continue reading >>

High Blood Glucose Levels Before Breakfast

High Blood Glucose Levels Before Breakfast

Tweet If you are regularly having high sugar levels before breakfast, there are a number of causes which could be the reason for it. Below are some of the more common reasons, including an explanation of how they can cause high sugar levels and what action you may wish to take to tackle the problem. For advice on how to spot high patterns, see our guide to dealing with highs and lows. Too little intermediate or long acting (basal) insulin If you are consistently getting high readings before breakfast, it could be that your long acting (basal) insulin is too low. If you take intermediate insulin (such as NPH insulin), consistently high sugar levels in the morning could be the result of taking too little intermediate insulin at dinner time. Action Consider increasing your dose of long acting or intermediate insulin. If increasing your insulin, do so gradually and test your blood glucose regularly to identify whether your blood glucose is going to low as a result. As always, be prepared to test your blood glucose if you feel the symptoms of hypoglycemia. If you at all unsure of how or whether to adjust your insulin, speak to your diabetes health team who will be able to help you. Be careful if you are considering increasing insulin Make sure your health team are happy for you to adjust your own insulin doses and consult them if you are in any doubt. If you increase your insulin, do so gradually to prevent risking severe hypoglycemia from occurring and test your sugar levels regularly to check low sugar levels are not occurring Having a meal with a delayed spike for dinner Some meals have a delayed spike, that is they can cause a significant rise in blood sugar levels that occurs a number of hours after having eaten. Meals that can typically lead to a delayed increase in bl Continue reading >>

Why Blood Sugar Can Be High In The Morning

Why Blood Sugar Can Be High In The Morning

You wouldn’t expect hours of sleep and fasting to leave you with high blood sugar. But elevated morning glucose may be more common than you think. Although it’s not a major problem when it occurs from time to time, consistently high morning levels need your doctor’s attention. Causes of Morning Hyperglycemia High blood glucose in the morning typically occurs due to one of three distinct causes: Dawn Phenomenon The “dawn phenomenon” describes high morning glucose that occurs due to a natural rise in hormone levels. During the early morning hours between about 4 and 8 a.m., your body releases hormones like cortisol and growth hormones to get ready for the day. For reasons experts don’t completely understand, your liver produces extra glucose in response to these hormones. People without diabetes secrete more insulin to handle the extra glucose. But for people with diabetes, blood glucose levels can rise too high. Increased blood sugar due to the dawn phenomenon is usually treated with diabetes medication. If you are on insulin, your insulin levels may need to be changed. The Somogyi Effect It’s possible to experience low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, while sleeping and not even know it. The potentially dangerous problem can occur for a number of different reasons—from not eating enough or taking too much insulin, to drinking too much alcohol. In some people, the body compensates for the hypoglycemia by producing a lot of hormones. This, in turn, causes blood sugar levels to rise. Not everyone wakes in reaction to low blood glucose levels. But being sweaty or having a headache in the morning can be a sign. If you suffer from the Somogyi effect (named after the scientist who first described the condition), your doctor may recommend that you eat a snack befor Continue reading >>

Why Is My Blood Sugar Level High At Night And In The Morning?

Why Is My Blood Sugar Level High At Night And In The Morning?

High Blood Sugar Blood sugar is a term used to describe the amount of sugar that is freely available in the bloodstream. In normal instances your blood sugar ranges between 3.8 and 6.1 mmol/dL when you are fasting and in the mid to low 5.5s mmol/dL in random testing. If you have diabetes, you may experience high levels of blood sugar at night or in the morning even if your disease is otherwise well-controlled. Insulin Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose pass from the bloodstream into the cells of the body where it is used for energy. Without insulin, or when your body doesn’t use insulin well, you have too much glucose in your bloodstream that can cause damage to your nerves and vascular system. Control of your blood sugar is important in order to reduce the long-term side effects of diabetes, even when your blood sugar only spikes for a short time in the early morning or in the evening. The Dawn Phenomenon The “dawn phenomenon” or “dawn effect” is the term used to describe why your blood sugar may be higher in the morning hours, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It is the result of natural hormonal fluctuations your body experiences through the night. Between midnight and 3 a.m., you have very little need for insulin when you should be sleeping most soundly. Between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body begins to get ready for the day by releasing hormones that increase insulin resistance and stored glucose in preparation for the day. These events result in an increase in blood sugar in the morning hours. The Somogyi Effect Another reason you can experience higher levels of blood sugar in the morning is from the Somogyi effect, or rebound hyperglycemia. According to an article by Theresa Garnero, nurse practitioner and certified diabetic Continue reading >>

Blood Glucose Levels High In Morning & Low After Eating

Blood Glucose Levels High In Morning & Low After Eating

You may be puzzled by a high blood glucose reading in the morning despite going to bed with a good reading the night before. Or your postmeal blood glucose may be lower than the reading before you ate. Unusual blood glucose fluctuation can be frustrating for diabetics and is affected by many factors. Keeping a good record of your diet, medication and blood glucose can often help you solve the mystery. Video of the Day If you consistently wake up with higher blood glucose levels despite being compliant with your meal plan, this could be a condition known as the dawn phenomenon, states the American Diabetes Association. Dawn phenomenon is a a sudden rise of blood glucose levels 10 to 20 milligrams per deciliter in the early morning between 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. It is caused by an increased release of hormones such as cortisol, glucagon and epinephrine while your body is preparing to wake up. These hormones increase insulin resistance and stimulate your liver to release glucose, causing blood glucose levels to rise. Insufficient insulin or medication, excessive carbohydrate snacks at bedtime or high-fat meals at dinner may also cause blood glucose to be elevated in the morning. To rule out if your high blood glucose is due to dawn phenomenon, your endocrinologist may ask you to eat a low-fat, carbohydrate-controlled dinner, maintain your usual physical activities and check your blood glucose around 2 or 3 a.m. for several days. Your doctor will help you determine if you have dawn phenomenon and adjust your medications accordingly. If the fluctuation is due to food, your dietitian may alter your meal plan and may suggest that you skip a bedtime snack or change the type of snack to a lean protein, modify your dinner or add some light exercise after dinner. When you wake up with Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar: What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning

Blood Sugar: What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning

There are two reasons why your blood sugar levels may be high in the morning – the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect. The dawn phenomenon is the end result of a combination of natural body changes that occur during the sleep cycle and can be explained as follows: Your body has little need for insulin between about midnight and about 3:00 a.m. (a time when your body is sleeping most soundly). Any insulin taken in the evening causes blood sugar levels to drop sharply during this time. Then, between 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., your body starts churning out stored glucose (sugar) to prepare for the upcoming day as well as releases hormones that reduce the body's sensitivity to insulin. All of these events happen as your bedtime insulin dose is also wearing off. These events, taken together, cause your body's blood sugar levels to rise in the morning (at "dawn"). A second cause of high blood sugar levels in the morning might be due to the Somogyi effect (named after the doctor who first wrote about it). This condition is also called "rebound hyperglycemia." Although the cascade of events and end result – high blood sugar levels in the morning – is the same as in the dawn phenomenon, the cause is more "man-made" (a result of poor diabetes management) in the Somogyi effect. There are two potential causes. In one scenario, your blood sugar may drop too low in the middle of the night and then your body releases hormones to raise the sugar levels. This could happen if you took too much insulin earlier or if you did not have enough of a bedtime snack. The other scenario is when your dose of long-acting insulin at bedtime is not enough and you wake up with a high morning blood sugar. How is it determined if the dawn phenomenon or Somogyi effect is causing the high blood sug Continue reading >>

Why Is My Blood Sugar High In The Morning?

Why Is My Blood Sugar High In The Morning?

That early morning jump in your blood sugar? It's called the dawn phenomenon or the dawn effect. It usually happens between 2 and 8 a.m. But why? Generally, the normal hormonal changes your body makes in the morning will boost your blood sugar, whether you have diabetes or not. If you don't, your body just makes more insulin to balance everything out. You don't even notice that it's happening. But if you have diabetes, it's different. Since your body doesn't respond to insulin the same as most, your fasting blood sugar reading can go up, even if you follow a strict diet. The boost in sugar is your body's way of making sure you have enough energy to get up and start the day. If you have diabetes, your body may not have enough insulin to counteract these hormones. That disrupts the delicate balance that you work so hard to keep, and your sugar readings can be too high by morning. The effects of the dawn phenomenon can vary from person to person, even from day to day. Some researchers believe the natural overnight release of what are called counter-regulatory hormones -- like growth hormones, cortisol, glucagon and epinephrine -- makes your insulin resistance stronger. This will make your blood sugar go up. You may also have high blood sugar in the morning because: You didn't have enough insulin the night before. You took too much or too little medicine. You ate the wrong snack before bedtime. If the dawn phenomenon affects you, try to: Eat dinner earlier in the evening. Do something active after dinner, like going for a walk. Check with your health care provider about the medicine you’re taking. Eat breakfast. It helps bring your blood sugar back to normal, which tells your body that it's time to rein in the anti-insulin hormones. Eat a snack with some carbohydrates and Continue reading >>

The Dawn Effect: Tips For Fixing High Morning Blood Sugars

The Dawn Effect: Tips For Fixing High Morning Blood Sugars

An early morning spike in the blood sugar can be a sign of poorly-controlled diabetes or something called the Dawn Effect. Here's what you can do. The dawn phenomenon sometimes called the dawn effect, is the term given to an early morning spike in the fasting blood sugar in an individual with diabetes. Typically occurring between 2 and 8 AM, it can be frustrating for those who are making every effort to control their blood sugar. Fortunately, the dawn phenomenon can be effectively managed. Why it Happens Everyone—those with or without diabetes—experiences a rise in blood sugar in the early morning. “There is a surge in growth hormone secretion in the early morning and this appears to be the hormone that may be the most responsible for the dawn phenomenon, at least in people with type 1 diabetes,” says Robert Courgi, MD, a hospitalist and endocrinologist at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, New York. “The dawn phenomenon is apparently not only responsible for a rise in fasting glucose, but it can also account for an exaggerated rise in post-breakfast blood glucose.” Growth hormone, as well as hormones like cortisol, are “get-up hormones that work to get us started on our day,” explains Yan Yan Sally Xie, MD, an endocrinologist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York and North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. “But all these hormones cause glucose levels to rise.” In a person who doesn’t have diabetes, there is sufficient insulin to cope with the blood glucose, or sugar, when it rises, Dr. Courgi says. “But in someone with diabetes, there’s just not enough insulin to control the sugar,” he adds. The pancreas isn’t able to produce insulin as needed, so the blood glucose rises. The Consequences of High Blo Continue reading >>

Why Is My Blood Glucose So High In The Morning?

Why Is My Blood Glucose So High In The Morning?

I am puzzled by my blood sugar pattern. I am not on any medications. My morning fasting blood sugar is always the highest of the day—between 120 and 140 mg/dl. The rest of the day it is in the normal range. Why does this occur? Continue reading >>

Controlling The Dawn Phenomenon

Controlling The Dawn Phenomenon

Do you wake up with a blood glucose level that’s higher than when you went to bed? You might wonder how this could be. Is this “dawn phenomenon” serious, and what can you do about it? Our reader Mishelle commented here, “I don’t eat [much] during the day. [I take metformin morning and night.] My blood sugar is still too high in the morning…sometimes 125–140ish.” How can Mishelle’s glucose levels go up if she didn’t eat anything? She probably has a mild case of dawn phenomenon. Her glucose is going up from sources other than digested food. Some of it is produced by the liver from stored starch and fatty acids. Livers that produce too much glucose are one of the main ways diabetes causes high blood glucose levels. Other organs also produce small amounts of glucose. This is called “gluconeogenesis” for you science freaks out there. Organs do this to keep blood glucose from going too low at night or other times of not eating. From about 2 AM to 8 AM, most people’s bodies produce hormones, including cortisol, glucagon, and epinephrine. All these hormones increase insulin resistance and tell the liver to make more glucose. The idea is to get you enough glucose to get out of bed and start the day. The whole process is apparently started by growth hormones. Everyone has a dawn phenomenon. Otherwise they’d be too weak to get breakfast. But in people without diabetes, insulin levels also increase to handle the extra glucose. People with diabetes can’t increase insulin levels that much, so their early morning blood glucose levels can rise dramatically. Experts disagree on how many people have a dawn phenomenon. Estimates range from 3% to 50% of Type 2s and from 25% to 50% of Type 1s. Is dawn phenomenon a serious problem? It can be serious. According t Continue reading >>

How To Avoid High Morning Blood Sugars

How To Avoid High Morning Blood Sugars

We’ve all been there before. You wake up. Lay in bed for a few before getting your booty up to go kill the workday and accomplish big things. Check your blood sugar. 115 (6.3 mmol/l) stares back at you. You smile to yourself: life is good. Forty minutes later, when you sit down to eat, your CGM gives you a “high” notification, and you’re 180. You have eaten NOTHING. All you’ve done is prepare for the day and prepare food. Now you face the grim potential of chasing your sugars all day long. What the… This isn’t Dawn Phenomenon Many people would blame this rise in blood sugar on dawn phenomenon (DP), which has a similar endpoint, but a different mechanism. Dawn phenomenon is the result of hormones releasing in the body in the early morning – predominantly growth hormone, cortisol, epinephrine, and glucagon – which in turn increase insulin resistance. The current basal insulin from the pump or long-acting injections is no longer enough, and blood sugars rise. That hormonal surge happens around 2am-6am, with most of it occurring in the middle of the night. Let’s say you woke up at 8:30am and aren’t in the “DP zone.” It’s not DP. Then what? Feet on the floor The moment your feet touch the floor as you roll out of bed, you signal to your body, “Hey, I need energy for all the stuff I’m about to do!” Your body recognizes you haven’t eaten in lord knows how many hours. Your body is also lazy smart and wants the most easily accessible source of energy: the liver. The liver is the Wal-Mart for stored energy, since it’s got everything you need. It stores glycogen that can be easily broken down when fasted or needed for activity, AND is the home of gluconeogenesis, a process where protein is broken down to glucose for energy. Guess what? You’r Continue reading >>

Why Is My Blood Sugar Level Higher In The Morning?

Why Is My Blood Sugar Level Higher In The Morning?

Diabetes Forum The Global Diabetes Community Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community Why is my blood sugar level higher in the morning? I was diagnosed with T2 three weeks ago, and I'm on 3 x Metformin tablets a day. I've cut down on carbs and sugar (lost 7lbs!), and I've managed to get my blood sugar levels down to between 5 and 7 (it was 14 on the day I was told I have diabetes). However, I've been finding that my blood sugar levels are higher in the morning than they are when I go to bed, e.g. it was 5.5 last night but 6.4 this morning. Is that something that I should be concerned about? Don't worry about it too much. I have the same problem. At the start my fasting levels went down but then they started to rise and be fairly erratic in the morning. They've continued like that but my HbA1c is absolutely fine. As long as glucose levels are lower most of the time the morning ones don't mean much and 6.4 is not too bad anyway. unfortunately docs seem to think FBGs are stable and indicative but they are not. I've had FBGs between 4.8 and 6.9 and I can't work out much of a pattern as to why they vary. Alcohol the night before tends to lower it as liver is too busy dealing with alcohol to make glucose but it's not recommended as a way to lower it! Continue reading >>

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The Dumbest & Smartest Things A Doctor Ever Told Me I eat a low fat diet, so why is my cholesterol level still high? Why are my blood sugars higher in the morning than when I go to bed the night before? This typically occurs due to the dawn phenomenon. The dawn phenomenon is the rise in blood glucose levels in the dawn (that is, the morning) due to excessive release of glucose from the liver into the blood. Here is a graph of a person’s blood glucose readings measured with a device (a “continuous glucose monitor”) that automatically measures the body’s glucose level about 300 times per day (each colour represents a different day): As you can see in the preceding graph, every day starting at about 3am this person’s glucose levels started to go up. This individual, like so very many others living with diabetes who have high blood glucose levels first thing in the morning, blamed themselves and attributed their elevated morning blood glucose to having overeaten or snacked the night before. Not so! What they (and you) eat at bedtime (or suppertime) seldom is a significant factor in leading to high blood glucose levels the next morning; heck, the food you ate the night before is long since digested, absorbed into the body, and metabolized well before the following morning’s breakfast. This graph nicely illustrates that point. One colourful term for the liver’s tendency to release glucose into the blood overnight is a liver leak. How much sugar (glucose) gets released from the liver if you have the dawn phenomenon? How about this: Almost as much as is contained in TWO CANS OF COLA! If you have the dawn phenomenon this is something that is not simply to be accepted. Rather, your therapy should be adjusted to fight it so that your blood glucose levels are kept w Continue reading >>

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