Why Is My Blood Sugar Higher In The Morning Than At Bedtime?

by Tim

in Diabetes, Endocrine Health

“Why is my blood sugar higher in the morning than at bedtime?” is one of the most confusing questions that new diabetics are confronted with after they start monitoring their blood glucose levels regularly. After all, blood sugar levels rise after a meal and then drop when you go without eating, so why should they suddenly rise when you have gone all night without a meal? The phenomenon of blood sugar being higher in the morning than at bedtime is commonly referred to as, “Dawn Phenomenon.”

What Exactly Is Dawn Phenomenon?
When the body is preparing to wake up and start the day, it goes through a series of changes and releases several different stress hormones. While they are mostly associated with the fight or flight response, the body also uses these stress hormones, namely cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, to wake the body up and prepare for the day. It is also suspected that the release of human growth hormone is also related.

These hormones are designed to provide you with energy, and that energy needs a source of fuel in order to be utilized properly. Insulin and blood glucose rise accordingly in order to provide that energy. In the case of diabetics, however, that insulin is either not available or unable to be used. This explains why blood glucose levels can be higher in the morning than they were at bedtime.

What Is The Somogyi Effect?
Another reason for high morning blood sugar levels is known as the Somogyi Effect, and is named after the first doctor to study it. The reasoning behind the Somogyi Effect is nearly identical to the Dawn Phenomenon, but is usually caused by taking too much insulin before you go to bed, especially if you are type 2 diabetic.

There is some debate as to whether the Somogyi Effect is a true phenomenon, or whether it is simply the result of having too many carbohydrates in the diet.

Photo Credit: Timo Balk

How To Keep Your Blood Sugar From Being Higher In The Morning
There are a few health tips that you can use to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and help keep them from rising too high in the morning.

  • Reduce your stress level
  • Eat a light snack before bed
  • Exercise a bit before going to bed
  • Speak with your doctor about your insulin dosage, if you are taking any
  • It would seem that the question, “Why is my blood sugar higher in the morning than at bedtime?” has many answers, and all of them relate to the particular way that the body’s hormones work together and how the particulars of having diabetes affect them. Still, it is possible to correct this situation through a combination of dietary changes and adjusting the time that you take your medication, if you do. Just remember that achieving normal blood sugar levels is entirely possible for a diabetic, but it just takes a bit of extra work.

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