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 >>
Managing Morning Blood Sugar Highs: How To Treat The Top 3 Causes
A high blood sugar reading first thing in the morning can throw off your whole day — and signal a chronic problem. Despite their best efforts to control their blood sugar levels, some people simply wake up with elevated blood sugar. Starting your day this way isn't just alarming: If it becomes a pattern, high morning readings can make it difficult to achieve your long-term diabetes management goals. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, a morning blood sugar high can be due to several causes. But with a little detective work and the help of your diabetes care team, you can isolate the cause and take steps to correct it. Here are three common scenarios: 1. The Dawn Phenomenon This occurs during the night while you're asleep and the body releases stress hormones. This phenomenon usually occurs between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. and involves growth hormone, cortisol, and adrenaline, which trigger the production and release of glucose from your liver. The end result of this chemical cascade is an increase in blood sugar. “These hormones are designed to get us up and moving in the morning,” says endocrinologist Renee Amori, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. While everybody experiences these natural changes in hormone levels, in people with diabetes the body may not adjust appropriately. This can lead to higher-than-normal blood sugar at the start of the day. Testing for these elevated first morning blood sugars is one way to diagnose people with type 2 diabetes. 2. The Somogyi Effect High morning readings can also be caused by the Somogyi effect, a rebound response that occurs when the body overcompensates for a low blood sugar reaction at night. If you take blood sugar–lowe Continue reading >>
The Dawn Phenomenon – T2d 8
The occurrence of high blood sugars after a period of fasting is often puzzling to those not familiar with the Dawn Phenomenon. Why are blood sugars elevated if you haven’t eaten overnight? This effect is also seen during fasting, even during prolonged fasting. There are two main effects – the Somogyi Effect and the Dawn Phenomenon. Somogyi Effect The Somogyi effect is also called reactive hyperglycaemia and happens in type 2 diabetic patients. The blood sugar sometimes drops in reaction to the night time dose of medication. This low blood sugar is dangerous, and in response, the body tries to raise it. Since the patient is asleep, he/she does not feel the hypoglycaemic symptoms of shakiness or tremors or confusion. By the time the patient awakens, the sugar is elevated without a good explanation. The high blood sugar occurs in reaction to the preceding low. This can be diagnosed by checking the blood sugar at 2am or 3am. If it is very low, then this is diagnostic of the Somogy Effect. Dawn Phenomenon The Dawn Effect, sometimes also called the Dawn Phenomenon (DP) was first described about 30 years ago. It is estimated to occur in up to 75% of T2D patients although severity varies widely. It occurs both in those treated with insulin and those that are not. The circadian rhythm creates this DP. Just before awakening (around 4am), the body secretes higher levels of Growth Hormone, cortisol, glucagon and adrenalin. Together, these are called the counter-regulatory hormones. That is, they counter the blood sugar lowering effects of insulin, meaning that they raise blood sugars. The nocturnal surge of growth hormone is considered the primary cause of the DP. These normal circadian hormonal increases prepare our bodies for the day ahead. That is, glucagon tells the liver Continue reading >>
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 >>
Thirty Years Of Research On The Dawn Phenomenon: Lessons To Optimize Blood Glucose Control In Diabetes
More than 30 years ago in Diabetes Care, Schmidt et al. (1) defined “dawn phenomenon,” the night-to-morning elevation of blood glucose (BG) before and, to a larger extent, after breakfast in subjects with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Shortly after, a similar observation was made in type 2 diabetes (T2D) (2), and the physiology of glucose homeostasis at night was studied in normal, nondiabetic subjects (3–5). Ever since the first description, the dawn phenomenon has been studied extensively with at least 187 articles published as of today (6). In this issue, Monnier et al. (7) report an additional observation on the dawn phenomenon in a large group of T2D subjects and quantify its role on overall BG control. Given this information and the extensive data to date, an assessment of our knowledge in this area should be determined. Specifically, what have we learned from the last 30 years of research on the dawn phenomenon? What is the appropriate definition, the identified mechanism(s), the importance (if any), and the treatment of the dawn phenomenon in T1D and T2D? Physiology of glucose homeostasis in normal, nondiabetic subjects indicates that BG and plasma insulin concentrations remain remarkably flat and constant overnight, with a modest, transient increase in insulin secretion just before dawn (3,4) to restrain hepatic glucose production (4) and prevent hyperglycemia. Thus, normal subjects do not exhibit the dawn phenomenon sensu strictiori because they secrete insulin to prevent it. In T1D, the magnitude of BG elevation at dawn first reported was impressive and largely secondary to the decrease of plasma insulin concentration overnight (1), commonly observed with evening administration of NPH or lente insulins (8) (Fig. 1). Even in early studies with intravenous insul Continue reading >>
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 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 >>
What You Should Know About Diabetes And The Dawn Phenomenon
What IS the “Dawn Phenomenon” in diabetes. The Dawn Phenomenon (also known as the Dawn Effect) was defined over 30 years ago in T1D as the elevation of blood sugars during the night and early morning hours and an even greater rise in blood sugar after breakfast. Soon after, the Dawn Phenomenon was observed in T2D as well.  The current definition of the Dawn Phenomenon is the need for insulin to prevent the rise of blood sugar levels in the early morning hours of predawn and dawn. So, after 30 years of research, what do we know about the Dawn Phenomenon—and what do we know about how to deal with this phenomenon? The Biology of the Dawn Phenomenon In normal, non-diabetic people, blood sugar and insulin secretion remain very constant overnight. Just before dawn, insulin can rise a small amount. In this sense, the Dawn Phenomenon exists in non-diabetic people as well—the phenomenon isn’t as large and because non-diabetics are not insulin resistant, their body secretes insulin and the cells respond by taking up the sugar from the blood, causing only a slight, mostly unnoticed rise in blood sugar. However, in diabetic individuals, the Dawn Phenomenon is much more significant. Anywhere from 10-50% of people with T2D and T1D experience the dawn phenomenon. It is believed that the rise in blood sugar during the early morning hours is due to the release of glucose from the liver—this can be referred to as a liver dump. This is due to the rise in growth hormone, cortisol, glucagon and adrenaline (epinephrine), all of which can function to stimulate the release of sugar and the synthesis of new sugar (glucose) from the liver. Why the rise in these hormones? Because during the night, the blood sugars will drop—and when they drop below a certain level, the body reads Continue reading >>
Why Do I Have High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning?
Some people experience very high blood sugar levels in the morning. But what implications does this have for a person's health? There are two main causes of high blood sugar in the morning, the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect This article explores these two causes of high blood sugar levels in the morning. It also discusses what risk factors may cause people to experience them and gives practical advice around how to better manage blood sugar levels. Contents of this article: The dawn phenomenon The dawn phenomenon has to do with natural body changes that occur during the sleep cycle: Midnight - 3 a.m. While most people are sleeping, their body has little need for insulin. During this period, however, any insulin that may have been taken during the evening causes the blood sugar levels to drop off drastically. Between 3 - 8 a.m. The body automatically begins to dish out stored sugar (glucose) in preparation for the upcoming day. In addition, hormones that actively reduce the body's sensitivity to insulin are also being released. During this time period, counter-regulatory hormones are being released. This can interfere with insulin, which may lead to a rise in blood sugar. These include growth hormones, such as: cortisol glucagon epinephrine These events are all happening simultaneously as bedtime levels of insulin are beginning to taper off. Each of these events ultimately plays a part in causing blood sugar levels to rise at "dawn" or in the morning. Who the dawn phenomenon affects Although people with diabetes are generally more aware of the dawn phenomenon, it actually happens to everyone. However, it affects people with or without diabetes differently. Typically, people who do not have diabetes tend not to notice these high blood sugar levels in the morning. Continue reading >>
The Dawn Phenomenon: What Can You Do?
What is the dawn phenomenon that some people with diabetes experience? Can anything be done about it? Answers from M. Regina Castro, M.D. The dawn phenomenon, also called the dawn effect, is the term used to describe an abnormal early-morning increase in blood sugar (glucose) — usually between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. — in people with diabetes. Some researchers believe the natural overnight release of the so-called counter-regulatory hormones — including growth hormone, cortisol, glucagon and epinephrine — increases insulin resistance, causing blood sugar to rise. High morning blood sugar may also be caused by insufficient insulin the night before, insufficient anti-diabetic medication dosages or carbohydrate snack consumption at bedtime. If you have persistently elevated blood sugar in the morning, checking your blood sugar once during the night — around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. — for several nights in a row will help you and your doctor determine if you have the dawn phenomenon or if there's another reason for an elevated morning blood sugar reading. What you can do Your doctor may recommend a number of options to help you prevent or correct high blood sugar levels in the morning: Avoid carbohydrates at bedtime. Adjust your dose of medication or insulin. Switch to a different medication. Change the time when you take your medication or insulin from dinnertime to bedtime. Use an insulin pump to administer extra insulin during early-morning hours. Continue reading >>
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 >>
Dawn Phenomenon: How To Control High Morning Blood Sugars
The dawn phenomenon is a normal, natural rise in blood sugar that occurs in the early morning hours, between roughly 4 and 8 a.m. The shift in blood sugar levels happens as a result of hormonal changes in the body. All people experience the dawn phenomenon to one level or another, which can vary day by day. People without diabetes may never notice it happening, as a normal body's insulin response adjusts for the rise without intervention. A person with diabetes is more likely to experience symptoms from the rise in blood sugar levels, however. How does it affect people with diabetes? Dawn phenomenon is a normal rise in blood sugar released by the liver. The release happens as the person's body is preparing to wake for the day. The rise in blood sugar is normally handled with insulin. For people with diabetes, insulin is not produced in high enough quantities, or the body is unable to use the insulin properly. As a result, a person with diabetes will feel the effects of having high sugar levels in the blood. These effects can include: faintness nausea vomiting weakness disorientation feeling tired extreme thirst Managing the dawn phenomenon Managing blood sugar levels is nothing new to most people with diabetes. A combination of diet, exercise, and medication often help keep the symptoms and problems under control. In the case of dawn phenomenon, there are some additional changes that may help prevent issues caused by the spike in blood sugar. Some steps people with diabetes can take to manage the dawn phenomenon include: changing medication entirely or making adjustments with a doctor on existing medication avoiding skipping meals or medication doses taking medication closer to bedtime and not at dinner time Other steps include eating dinner earlier in the evening. Afte Continue reading >>
Why Do I Have Low Blood Sugar In The Morning?
Your body uses blood sugar, called glucose, as a source of energy for cells and organs. Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, happens when your body doesn’t have enough glucose to use for energy. People with diabetes mellitus may have low blood sugar in the morning due to too much long-acting insulin, also called background insulin and basal insulin. Insulin helps to manage blood sugar by allowing glucose to enter your cells, where it can be turned into energy. Too much insulin of any kind can cause low blood sugar. Some noninsulin medications to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus can cause hypoglycemia also. People without diabetes can also have low blood sugar, known as non-diabetic hypoglycemia. This is usually caused by lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise habits. Low blood sugar is usually defined as a glucose reading below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Readings below 54 mg/dL are more significant and signal that you may need immediate medical treatment. If you have low blood sugar in the morning, you may wake up with some of these symptoms: headache sweating dry mouth nausea lightheadedness dizziness shaking hunger anxiety blurred vision pounding heart beat If your blood sugar dips below 54 mg/dL, you might have more severe symptoms, including: fainting seizures coma If you have any of these severe symptoms, get medical help as soon as possible. Extremely low blood sugar can be life-threatening. The causes of low blood sugar in the morning vary. If you have diabetes, you likely need to adjust your background insulin levels. Make sure you’re aware of how any other medications you take can affect your blood sugar. Your doctor can help you make sure that your insulin dosage and any other medications you take are a good fit with your diet and exerc Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>