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Why Does Your Blood Sugar Go Up At Night?

Do You Bolt Awake At 3 A.m.? Low Blood Sugar Symptoms May Be To Blame

Do You Bolt Awake At 3 A.m.? Low Blood Sugar Symptoms May Be To Blame

You’re exhausted and you need your eight hours of sleep, but you suddenly bolt awake around 3 or 4 a.m., energy coursing through your veins and mind churning anxiously. What gives? Waking up in the middle of the night is simply one of many low blood sugar symptoms. Why Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar Can Cause You to Be Awake at 3 a.m. Sleeping through the night represents a long period without food when blood sugar can drop too low. This is bad news for the brain, which depends on glucose for energy. The brain is highly active at night, transforming short-term memory into long-term memory,[1] and carrying out repair and regeneration.[2] In response, the adrenal glands, two walnut-shaped glands that sit atop the kidneys, release stress hormones. These stress hormones raise blood sugar back to a safe level. Unfortunately, stress hormones also raise, well, stress. Hence the anxious awakening during night’s darkest hours. Eating at 3 a.m. Can Help You Fall Back to Sleep A quick fix for this and other low blood sugar symptoms (below) can be as simple as eating a small amount of protein—with perhaps some fat thrown in—when you wake up too early. This could a spoonful of nut butter, a few pieces of meat, or a hard-boiled egg. Some find this stabilizes blood sugar levels enough so they fall back asleep. Do not, however, eat something starchy at this time, such as bread or cereal, as it will spike blood sugar levels, causing them to drop too low again. Daytime Tips to Avoid Waking Up at 3 a.m. Every Night Although a quick snack may help you fall back asleep, it’s better to prevent waking up in the first place. If you are waking up regularly at 3 a.m., chances are you suffer from low blood sugar symptoms. Signs of low blood sugar include: Sugar cravings Irritability, light Continue reading >>

Sugar Highs Explained

Sugar Highs Explained

You're taking your medications as prescribed and you're keeping an eye on your carbohydrates, yet there still may be times when your blood sugar is too high. There are many reasons for blood sugar surges--I'd like to zero in on two common issues: high morning sugar and sugar that's high after exercising. Waking up to high sugar You'd think that your blood sugar should be lower after a night's sleep. After all, you haven't eaten anything for many hours. But the body needs glucose 24 hours a day, and if you're not getting it from food, your body will turn to stored glucose in the liver. Your pancreas needs to make insulin to deal with this glucose, just as it does for glucose derived from the food you eat. Unfortunately, in many people with diabetes, insulin production during periods of fasting is as meager as (or worse than) during eating. Therefore, the sugar may rise overnight because glucose being produced by the liver is not matched by adequate insulin from the pancreas. Also, certain medications, including glyburide (brand name Micronase or DiaBeta), glipizide (brand name Glipizide) and glimepiride (brand name Amaryl), improve meal-related insulin production more than fasting insulin production. As a result, many people who take these medicines have higher glucose levels in the morning than before bed at night. Sometimes a bedtime snack will actually help lower morning blood glucose, because the sugar (from the carbohydrates in your snack) that hits your bloodstream causes the body to release more insulin than the sugar your liver releases during the night while you're fasting. Ideally, your snack should contain protein, some healthy fat and a slowly absorbed carbohydrate, such as two teaspoons of peanut butter on a half-slice of stone-ground whole-wheat bread. If t Continue reading >>

The 4 Foods That Will Steady Your Blood Sugar

The 4 Foods That Will Steady Your Blood Sugar

Wondering what blood sugar has to do with you, if you don’t have diabetes? Keeping your blood sugar levels as steady as possiblenow may help you avoid getting diabetes later. “As you get older, your risk for type 2 diabetes goes up,” says Alissa Rumsey, Registered Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Since you can’t modify your age, it is important to take other steps to lower your risk, including maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough exercise, and balancing your diet to prevent spikes in blood sugar.” Controlling your blood sugar will also just make you feel better. “It’s best to control blood sugar—it keeps your energy stable,” says Leann Olansky, M.D., an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “If your blood sugar doesn’t vary that much before and after a meal, that’s a healthier way to be.” Unrelated to diabetes, symptoms of occasional high blood sugar aren’t life-threatening, but rather unpleasant and only potentially dangerous if you suffer from other health problems. “When your blood sugar is too high, it can make you feel sluggish,” says Dr. Olansky. “When it’s higher still, it can lead to dehydration and make your blood pressure unstable, and cause you to urinate more often, especially at night.” But when your blood sugar remains chronically high, insulin, a hormone that’s supposed to help your body store sugar as energy, stops working as it should. “Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance, meaning your body isn’t able to use insulin properly,” says Rumsey. “Over time this insulin resistance can develop into diabetes, when insulin isn’t able to keep your blood sugar within normal levels.” Current research reveals an association between spik Continue reading >>

15 Ways High Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

15 Ways High Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

High blood sugar symptoms Glucose, or sugar, is the fuel that powers cells throughout the body. Blood levels of this energy source ebb and flow naturally, depending what you eat (and how much), as well as when you eat it. But when something goes wrong—and cells aren't absorbing the glucose—the resulting high blood sugar damages nerves, blood vessels, and organs, setting the stage for dangerous complications. Normal blood-sugar readings typically fall between 60 mg/dl and 140 mg/dl. A blood test called a hemoglobin A1c measures average blood sugar levels over the previous three months. A normal reading is below 5.7% for people without diabetes. An excess of glucose in the bloodstream, or hyperglycemia, is a sign of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes don’t make insulin, the hormone needed to ferry sugar from the bloodstream into cells. Type 2 diabetes means your body doesn’t use insulin properly and you can end up with too much or too little insulin. Either way, without proper treatment, toxic amounts of sugar can build up in the bloodstream, wreaking havoc head to toe. That’s why it’s so important to get your blood sugar levels in check. “If you keep glucose levels near normal, you reduce the risk of diabetes complications,” says Robert Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association. Here’s a rundown of the major complications and symptoms of high blood sugar. No symptoms at all Often, high blood sugar causes no (obvious) symptoms at all, at least at first. About 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but one in four has no idea. Another 86 million have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. That's why it’s a good idea to get your blood sugar test Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar And Sleep Problems: How Blood Sugar Levels Impact Sleep

Blood Sugar And Sleep Problems: How Blood Sugar Levels Impact Sleep

November is National Diabetes Month and Alaska Sleep Clinic is dedicating this month’s blog posts to raising awareness for diabetic complications and how they correlate with sleep disorders and overall tiredness. SLEEP PROBLEMS AND SNORING MAY PREDICT DIABETES Studies have shown that individuals who consistently have a bad night's sleep are more likely to develop conditions linked to diabetes and heart disease. Loud snoring sleepers (many of whom may have sleep apnea), compared to quiet sleepers, double (2x) their risks of developing certain types of metabolic syndrome(s); including diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. This likelihood also increased dramatically to 80% in those who found it difficult to fall asleep and to 70% for those who woke up feeling not as refreshed. Blood Sugar and Sleep Problems Sleep can affect your blood sugar levels, and your blood glucose control can also affect your sleep. It’s a vicious cycle. As the amount of sleep decreases, blood sugar increases, escalating the issue. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase blood sugar levels and the risk of diabetic issues. Higher blood sugar means less long-lasting fat metabolism in the night and even less sleep. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that people who slept less than 6 hours a night had more blood sugar complications compared to those who received 8 hours of sleep. HIGH BLOOD SUGAR - HYPERGLYCEMIA Sleepless and restless nights hurt more than your mood and energy; it is a form of chronic stress on the body. When there is added stress on your body this results in having higher blood sugar levels. When researchers restricted people with type-1 diabetes to just 4 hours of sleep, their sensitivity to insulin was reduced by 20% compared to that after a full nig 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 >>

Foods To Lower The Rise Of Blood Sugar At Night

Foods To Lower The Rise Of Blood Sugar At Night

Controlling high blood sugar levels at night is an important part of overall health for people with diabetes. But, it does not have to be a complicated process. Simple lifestyle changes including a healthy, well-balanced snack before bed can improve blood sugar levels even during the long hours between bedtime and breakfast. Video of the Day Protein is a key to preventing high blood sugar during the night. When digested, protein does not spike blood sugar or insulin levels, making it the best choice in food options before bedtime. A serving of protein should be eaten one to two hours before bedtime to help stabilize blood sugar levels before the extended fasting period during sleep. Good sources of protein include poultry, lean meats, fish, eggs and soy products. Fats also play an important role in controlling blood sugar levels. A small amount of healthy fats, like monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, can be added to the evening snack to help the body process the protein being consumed. Examples of healthy fats are low-fat cheeses, seeds, nuts, avocado, and olive oil. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats, which can lead to high cholesterol and heart disease. Carbohydrates are often thought to be the enemy when it comes to high blood sugar. But, the right carbohydrates during an evening snack can actually be beneficial. Adding vegetables, whole-grain breads, or legumes not only provides important nutrients, but also provides fiber. Fiber decreases the risk of heart disease and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Avoid simple carbohydrates that provide little to no nutritional value and spike insulin and blood sugar levels such as cookies, cakes, white breads and pastas, and sweetened soft drinks or juices. One to two hours before bedtime enjoy a smal 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 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 >>

Avoiding Blood Sugar Spikes During The Night

Avoiding Blood Sugar Spikes During The Night

In addition to disrupting your sleep, experiencing high blood sugar during the night can be dangerous. The three primary causes of blood sugar spikes during the night are eating too many carbs or fats at dinner or before bedtime, the dawn effect, and the Somogyi effect. High-Fat Meal Spikes Consuming excessive carbs elevates blood sugar, and too much fat can do the same. Fats digest slower than carbohydrates, causing problems for people taking insulin. Fast-acting insulins like Humalog, Novolog and Apidra work in the body for three to four hours. After enjoying a high-fat meal, these insulins might begin working before a significant amount of glucose reaches the bloodstream – and the insulin may be done working before all the glucose gets there. This means a glucose reading can be in-range two hours after a high-fat dinner, but the level can elevate above normal five or more hours later. To avoid carb- or fat-related spikes: Stick to the dietary guidelines that generally work for you. If you indulge in an occasional high-fat meal – especially one loaded with saturated fat (animal fat) – you may need to alter the dose and timing of your insulin. If using oral medications, it can help to do some physical activity (e.g., walking) after consuming a high-fat meal. The Dawn Effect Early morning high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can be owed to insufficient evening medication, carbohydrate bedtime snacks or the “dawn effect.” The dawn effect occurs when a middle-of-the-night increase in insulin resistance triggers a rise in blood sugar. This phenomenon has been linked to a normal release of hormones about two hours before waking. In non-diabetics, elevated glucose at dawn helps the body prepare for morning activity, and insulin keeps the glucose level in check. For tho Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Sleep: How High Blood Sugar Steals Sleep Time

Diabetes And Sleep: How High Blood Sugar Steals Sleep Time

It’s probably far from obvious, but your diabetes could be the reason that you’re having trouble sleeping. Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 30 million Americans—and the numbers are growing. Though most of us are aware that the disease has a serious impact on a person’s diet and blood sugar, fewer are familiar with the many related health woes that diabetes can cause—and how they can negatively impact sleep. Take a closer look at the surprisingly intricate relationship between diabetes and sleep—plus how people with the condition can get a better night’s rest. Diabetes and Sleep: A Vicious Cycle? The relationship between diabetes and sleep is complicated, and experts still have a lot to learn about how the whole thing works. What they do know? How much sleep you get could play a role in whether you develop type 2 diabetes in the first place. First, there’s the growing connection between sleep and obesity. Being overweight is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. (Believe it or not, up to 90% of people who are diagnosed with the disease are also obese.) What’s more, evidence shows that there are several ways that skimping on sleep could lead to weight gain: When you’re zonked, you don’t have the energy to exercise. Research suggests that people who stay up late spend more time sitting than people who wake up early. Feeling tired means you’re less likely to make healthy food choices, too. When you’re exhausted, pizza or takeout just feel easier (and more tempting) than a big kale salad. Staying up late means more time to eat. People who stay up into the wee hours at night have been found to eat 550 more calories than those who go to bed early. Lack of sleep messes with your hormones. Sleep deprivation causes your body to pump out more of the stre Continue reading >>

Controlling The Dawn Phenomenon

Controlling The Dawn Phenomenon

One of our most stubborn challenges is to control the dawn phenomenon. That’s when our fasting blood glucose readings in the morning are higher than when we went to bed. The dawn phenomenon is a normal physiological process where certain hormones in our body work to raise blood glucose levels before we wake up, as we wrote in The New Glucose Revolution: What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up…And Down? Professor Jennie Brand-Miller of the University of Sydney, Kaye Foster-Powell, and I co-authored that book (Marlowe & Co., first edition 2003, second American edition 2006). These so-called counter-regulatory hormones, including glucagon, epinephrine, growth hormone, and cortisol, work against the action of insulin. They stimulate glucose release from the liver and inhibit glucose utilization throughout the body. The result is an increase in blood glucose levels, ensuring a supply of fuel in anticipation of the wakening body’s needs. If you take insulin injections, it could be that the effect of insulin you took is waning. Your blood glucose will rise if you didn’t take enough to keep your insulin level up through the night. The dawn phenomenon varies from person to person and can even vary from time to time in each of us. That much was clear when our book came out. But how to control it was a different story. A couple of years ago here I wrote about several efforts for “Taming the Dawn Phenomenon.” People have tried everything from eating a green apple at bedtime to high-maize grain to uncooked cornstarch. None of these remedies that I have been able to try ever worked for me. I always thought that the most promising remedy was one that a correspondent named Renee suggested – vinegar capsules. “I am still using vinegar tablets (usually 8) each night and have us Continue reading >>

Overnight Glucose Testing: Who Does It And Why?

Overnight Glucose Testing: Who Does It And Why?

Do you wake up during the witching hour to test your blood sugar? If you're raising your hand, you're probably the parent of a child with diabetes. But the odds are pretty slim that you'll find an adult who willingly sets an alarm to test their blood sugar in the middle of the night, breaking peaceful dreams for a dose of reality. Sleep is supposed to be our break, our meager vacation from the struggles and stress of managing diabetes. Right...? I'll be the first to admit that I don't test my blood sugar in the middle of the night. If I happen to be awake and I feel low, guess what? I'm low! I don't need to fiddle around with a glucose meter to prove it. (Although it might help with that erroneous 30-day average.) I've heard so many stories on Facebook and at diabetes conferences of parents who faithfully wake up every night — sometimes twice or more! — to check their child's blood sugar, and beat themselves up if they happen to forget. I think, those poor moms and dads! All that lost sleep! It will be great when their child is old enough to wake up on their own and manage their own blood sugars, which is what I did once I reached middle school age. I always wake up from my low blood sugars now, I think happily. No need for alarm clocks here! Or is there...? The fact is, about 75% of the time, you're going to sleep through a nocturnal low rather than waking up. Surprising, huh? Most of us probably think that if we don't wake up, we didn't go low. But the feeling of being low — caused by the release of epinephrine — is blunted when we're sleeping, though sometimes it'll kick in strong enough that it'll jolt us awake. In a totally unofficial survey of PWDs on Facebook, the majority of folks responding to my query said they don't test their blood sugar at night bec Continue reading >>

Late To Bed, Early To Rise: A Recipe For Diabetes

Late To Bed, Early To Rise: A Recipe For Diabetes

For most people, not getting enough sleep isn’t a big deal. So what if you aren’t as sharp as usual the next day, or feel a bit groggy? But sleeping poorly night after night—because you are trying to burn the candle at both ends or you work night or rotating shifts—has long-term health consequences. People who don’t average at least six hours of sleep a night are more likely to be overweight or develop various medical problems, including diabetes, as described earlier on the Harvard Health blog. Being overweight is a big risk factor for becoming diabetic. Researchers long thought that the poor eating habits that went along with poor sleep were at the root of sleep-related diabetes. With the help of 21 volunteers who lived in a sleep lab for almost six weeks, researchers from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital have shown that lack of sleep plays an even more complex and powerful role. Each of the volunteers followed a carefully scheduled daily program of eating, physical activity, and sleeping. They started out well rested, getting 10 hours of sleep a night for the first six nights. Over the next three weeks, they spent just 5.6 hours in bed each night, and it came later and later each day. The schedule was meant to mimic rotating shift work or extended jet lag. This sleep pattern completely threw off the body’s sleep-wake rhythm, which influences the daily rise and fall of body temperature and blood pressure, and the secretion of many hormones. During the three weeks of abnormal sleep, the participants’ bodies stopped releasing enough insulin after a meal. Muscles need this hormone to absorb sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream. As a result, their blood sugar levels went haywire. Some of the people had blood sugar levels high enough to have Continue reading >>

Dealing With Unexplained Blood Sugar Spikes

Dealing With Unexplained Blood Sugar Spikes

You can do everything right to keep your diabetes under control — eat a smart diet, exercise, take medications as prescribed, and follow your doctor’s instructions for blood sugar monitoring — and still wake up in the morning with unexplained blood sugar spikes. Even in people who don’t have diabetes, blood sugars fluctuate constantly, says Linda M. Siminerio, RD, PhD, director of the University of Pittsburgh's Diabetes Institute. But when you have diabetes and wake up with an increase in blood sugar levels, you shouldn’t ignore it. If high blood sugar happens once in a while and you're able to get it under control quickly with insulin or exercise, it may be nothing serious. “Maybe you have high blood sugar in the morning because you went to a party last night and had a bigger piece of birthday cake,” Dr. Siminerio says. “Or it snowed, and you couldn’t go for your morning run the day before.” But if you consistently wake up with blood sugar spikes and don’t know why, you need to investigate the cause. You may need to adjust your diabetes treatment plan, possibly changing your medication. You won’t feel right if you have high blood sugar, a condition known as hyperglycemia, says Anuj Bhargava, MD, president of the Iowa Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center in Des Moines and founder of My Diabetes Home, an online platform that helps users track their blood sugar and manage their medication. When your blood sugar is too high for a few days or weeks, it can cause more frequent urination, increased thirst, weight loss, blurry vision, fatigue, and nausea. It also can make you more susceptible to infections. When you have high blood sugar for a long time, it can damage the vessels that supply blood to your heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes, and caus Continue reading >>

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