Why Your Blood Sugar Is High In The Morning And How To Lower It
- Your blood sugar levels might be high in the morning if you are experiencing the dawn phenomenon or the Somogyi effect.
- The dawn phenomenon is most common in people with type 2 diabetes, while the Somogyi effect is more common for people with type 1 diabetes.
- To lower your morning blood sugars, you can try light exercise before bed, limit carbohydrates in the evening, and put more time in between your last meal and bedtime.
- This article was reviewed by Jason R. McKnight, MD, MS, a family-medicine physician and clinical assistant professor at Texas A& M College of Medicine.
- This story is part of Insider’s guide to Diabetes.
People with diabetes have a more difficult time regulating their blood sugar. Those with type 1 diabetes are not able to produce insulin, the hormone that helps the body convert blood sugar into energy. And those with type 2 diabetes cannot use insulin effectively.
As a result, blood sugar levels are often much higher for people with diabetes, especially in the morning. Here’s why.
Treating High Morning Blood Sugar
A blood sugar high in the morning “can be tough to treat, acknowledges Amori, but with the help of your medical team, you can try different approaches. Talk with your doctor about these strategies:
Adjust your pump. If youre testing high regularly and you use an insulin pump, you might be able to program it to help manage your morning highs.
Check blood sugar before bed. Granted, many people have morning high blood sugar after an acceptable blood sugar before bedtime. Even so, “don’t go to bed with high blood sugar,” cautions Amori.
Take basal insulin. Taking basal insulin at bedtime could help, but be sure to clear any changes in dosing with your physician before you try it.
Adjust medication. If in fact your high morning blood sugar is a rebound response to a low blood sugar level while youre asleep, you might need to change the dose of any medication you take in the evening that could be causing low blood sugar. Talk with your doctor about whether your medication schedule should be adjusted to treat morning highs.
Have a healthy pre-bed snack. For those experiencing the Somogyi effect, a healthy mixed snack of protein and carbohydrates could help prevent your blood sugar roller coaster at night. Amori advises working with a registered dietitian if youre not sure how to fit a pre-bed snack into your daily diet.
Why Would Insulin Resistance Cause High Blood Sugar In The Morning
The liver produces glucose during a fasting state such as overnight fasting while sleeping. Insulin is the only main hormone that regulates glucose production through the liver. Basically, when insulin levels go down glucose production goes up. When insulin levels go up glucose production goes down. In an insulin resistance state, which is similar to an insulin-deficient state since the liver does not recognize the communication that insulin is trying to deliver. So, the liver in a diabetic patient will end up making too much glucose as insulin does not work efficiently enough to regulate blood sugar production through the liver.
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How To Prevent Diabetes Naturally
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Lack Of Physical Exercise
Exercise is a powerful tool for controlling glucose levels. There are multiple mechanisms by which exercise positively impacts glucose levels, including:
But perhaps the most important aspect of exercise is consistency. Research has found that even a 10-day break in exercise in fit individuals decreased insulin sensitivity.
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Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar
When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often. Doing so helped you understand how food, activity, stress, and illness could affect your blood sugar levels. By now, youve got it figured out for the most part. But thenbam! Something makes your blood sugar zoom up. You try to adjust it with food or activity or insulin, and it dips really low. Youre on a roller coaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.
Do you know all these blood sugar triggers?
Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:
Why Your A1c Matters
In a nutshell: your A1c is one of the clearest indicators of your risk for developing diabetes complications like neuropathy , retinopathy , nephropathy , and severe infection in any part of your body that requires healing.
For instance, a small cut on your toe could become infected due to high blood sugars, struggle to heal, and become severe enough that the infection could lead to an amputation.
The general guidelines from the American Diabetes Association recommend an A1c at or below 7.0 percent for the best prevention of diabetes complications. Your risk of developing a diabetes complication continues to drop as your A1c drops closer to 6 percent.
Some people with diabetes aim for A1c levels in the 5s and lower especially those who follow strict low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet and the Bernstein diet. However, this hasnt been proven in research as especially necessary, nor is it reasonably achievable for the larger population of people with diabetes.
Its also important to remember that your blood sugar levels and your A1c are just information that tells you whether your body needs more or less of factors like insulin, other diabetes medications like Metformin, changes in your nutrition, and changes in your exercise.
If you dont like the number youre seeing on your glucose meter or your A1c results, use that number as motivation to make changes in how you safely manage your diabetes in order to get different results.
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How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar Without Medication
Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels . Even if you have good control of your levels most of the time, morning blood sugars can be a problem.
But you have options for lowering your morning blood glucose levels. And they don’t involve more medications or insulin.
This article looks at why mornings are a problem and several strategies for starting your day off better.
Verywell / Julie Bang
High morning blood glucose is common. It’s called the dawn phenomenon or dawn effect.
It happens because:
- Your body releases a surge of hormones as it prepares to wake up.
- Those hormones can counter the effects of insulin.
- Insulin regulates blood sugars, so this can make levels rise.
- In people without diabetes, the body naturally releases more insulin to maintain things.
- When you have diabetes, your body may not be able to compensate this way.
You can improve your morning readings despite this. It just takes some work and forethought.
What Is A Good Range For Blood Sugar
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When To See A Doctor
According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more.
See your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:
- increased thirst
- high levels of sugar in urine
Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and about your ideal blood sugar levels.
If you dont currently see a doctor who specializes in diabetes, known as an endocrinologist, you can find one by searching the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.
You can find a certified diabetes educator by visiting the American Diabetes Associations website and searching by zip code.
Talk to your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar readings or symptoms of chronic hyperglycemia.
Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early will help prevent any complications.
Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.
Examples of complications include:
- nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
- diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
- increased risks for kidney problems
- increased risks for heart problems
Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help to minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.
How Long Does It Take For Blood Sugar To Go Down
Multiple factors, such as dietary patterns, health, and medications, can influence a persons blood sugar levels. A person can seek a doctors advice on the best strategies to manage their blood glucose. As an individuals blood sugars can fluctuate and go down quickly, it is important to monitor them closely.
Typically, medications such as insulin can help reduce blood sugars quickly. Different types of insulin exist, and each type has a different onset and duration meaning how long it takes to work and how long the effects last, respectively.
For example, rapid-acting insulin typically begins to work within about 15 minutes , has the strongest effect in approximately an hour, and lasts for a few hours.
Other methods, such as exercise, can help lower blood sugars for up to about 24 hours by making the body more sensitive to insulin. Generally, it is advisable to exercise 13 hours after eating, as this is likely when blood sugar levels will be highest. However, it is important to check these levels before exercising and to check them regularly, particularly after any grueling activity.
If a person takes insulin, their risk of experiencing hypoglycemia may be highest 612 hours after exercising. Additionally, it is worth noting that health experts advise caution if exercising with high blood sugars, as physical activity may cause them to rise even higher.
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Keep A Consistent Exercise Routine
The best exercise is the one you do regularly. Donât let the âperfectâ become the enemy of âgood enoughâ. It is far better to consistently walk 15 minutes a day or strength train three times per week than it is to grind out a marathon-like workout once every 3 or 4 months when the motivation strikes.
Find a movement practice that you love doing and make it a non-negotiable part of your life. Leverage the insights from behavioral science to design your environment for success.
What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In Morning
The majority of the time, your bodys natural hormonal changes in the morning raise blood sugar levels, whether you have diabetes or not. Your body just produces more insulin to bring everything back into balance. You wont realize its happening.
However, if you have diabetes, things are a bit more complicated. Even though you follow a nutritious diet. Your fasting blood sugar level might rise even if you dont take insulin properly.
The sugar surge is your bodys method of making sure you have the energy to get out of bed and begin your day. If you have diabetes, your body may not be producing enough insulin to counteract these hormones. This disrupts the delicate equilibrium that you work so hard to maintain. This further causes your blood sugar levels to be excessively high by morning.
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Low Insulin Levels During The Night
You may experience low insulin levels during the night if you take supplemental insulin, either from a pump or daily injections. Most often, there are three reasons that insulin levels might be too low overnight, leading to raised morning blood sugar:
Your insulin pump is not set to give you a high enough dose of background insulin overnight.
Your injection of long-lasting insulin doesnt provide a high enough dose.
You injected the long-lasting insulin too early in the day, and its effects have reduced overnight.
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.
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.
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Why Does Blood Sugar Go Up In The Morning What Is The Dawn Phenomenon
There are a few main reasons why your glucose levels may be higher in the morning. One of these is known as the dawn phenomenon.
The dawn phenomenon occurs early in the morning between 3 am and 8 am while you are still asleep. As morning approaches, the body naturally signals your liver to produce glucose, giving your body the energy it needs for the start of the day. Caused by changes in hormonal levels, the dawn phenomenon happens to all people, with or without diabetes. However, for those without diabetes, insulin levels increase and they do not experience hyperglycemia.
Another reason you may experience higher morning glucose levels is because your injected insulin wears off. If your body has insufficient insulin during the night, your glucose levels may start to rise. To combat this, you may consider trying a new basal insulin, adjusting the timing and amount of your basal dose , or changing your nighttime basal rates .
The last reason you may experience higher morning glucose levels is known as the Somogyi effect. This occurs if your glucose levels fall too low during the night, caused by too much insulin or medication. To respond, your liver produces more glucose to try to maintain your glucose levels, which may result in hyperglycemia. The Somogyi effect is not as common as the other reasons described.