What Causes High Morning Blood Sugars
Two main culprits prompt morning highs: the dawn phenomenon and waning insulin. A third, much rarer cause, known as the Somogyi effect, may also be to blame.
The occasional morning high will have little impact on your A1C, a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time that indicates how well managed your diabetes is. But if those highs become consistent, they could push your A1C up into dangerous territory.
Missed Sleep Increases Health Risks
Your late nights could be fueling a rise in your blood sugar level and an increased risk for other unhealthy conditions while you sleep. Researchers have found links between poor sleep habits and elevated blood sugar levels.
A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research in August 2012 found evidence that getting less than the recommended seven hours of sleep can increase your risk for a host of health problems, including obesity and diabetes. And a February 2014 study in the European Respiratory Journal found that, among participants with sleep apnea, the more severe the condition, the higher their blood sugar levels.
The problem can be especially pronounced in people already diagnosed with diabetes. “A person with type 2 diabetes who does not get enough sleep will have less insulin released in the body, meaning more glucose stays in the bloodstream and more hormones, like cortisol, are released, making it more difficult to regulate blood sugar levels,” Dr. Wood says.
People who have high blood sugar levels could find themselves falling asleep at work, even if they don’t have diabetes. That’s because fatigue is commonly associated with hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
How To Test Your Blood Sugar
What should my blood sugar be when I wake up? You already know the answer, but you should also know the correct way to test your blood sugar. To get an accurate reading, check your blood sugar level in 10-15 minutes of waking up in the morning. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before you test any contaminant can cause inaccuracies. Avoid any caffeinated beverages before you test because it can lead to a spike in blood sugar.
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Do Your Blood Sugar Levels Drop When You Sleep
Yes, people with diabetes may experience a blood sugar level that drops when they sleep. This is largely due to a phenomenon called the dawn effect.
This doesn’t always happen and it’s not something that everyone experiences but as time goes on, our bodies will tell us which pattern is best for it: whether we should eat before bed or not. It’s important to experiment with what works best for our individual needs – if eating before bed causes our blood sugar to drop too low, then we’ll know that it’s best to avoid eating for the hours leading up to bed to keep your blood sugar under control.
If we do experience a drop in blood sugar levels, there are some strategies that may help us either prevent or treat it. Some people will take insulin before going to bed if they know their blood sugar is too high others might drink juice or eat cereal with milk before bedtime when they know they have low blood sugar during the night.
How Do You Treat Hypoglycemia
Treatment for hypoglycemia involves both the immediate steps needed to raise your blood sugar level in addition with the later treatment or medication dose adjustment to prevent recurrence.
To immediately raise your blood sugar level, Dr. Shah advocates the rule of 15eating 15 grams of carbohydrates and then checking your blood sugar level 15 minutes later. Fast-acting carbohydrates include:
- 4 glucose tablets
- 4 ounces of fruit juices
Keep repeating these steps every 15 minutes until your blood sugar reaches above 70 mg/dL, he explains. Once your level has stabilized, its important to then eat a snack or even a full meal to maintain that balance, Dr. Shah adds.
If your symptoms are more severe and/or a person is unable to swallow, you may need an injection of glucagon, he says.
To prevent episodes of hypoglycemia in the future, Dr. Shah says that treatment may involve the changing of prescribed regimens and dosages or adjusting your meal plans.
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Low Sleep High Blood Sugar
Maarouf says high blood sugar is a red flag for sleep problems among people with diabetes for another reason. âPeople who are tired will eat more because they want to get energy from somewhere,â she says. âThat can mean consuming sugar or other foods that can spike blood sugar levels.â
âI really push people to eat properly throughout the day and get their blood sugars under control so they sleep better at night,â Maarouf says. âIf you get your blood sugar under control, you will get a good night sleep and wake up feeling fabulous with lots of energy.â
Create An Environment Suited For Sleep
A comfortable environment can go a long way in getting a good nights sleep. If possible, consider investing in a new mattress. This can really improve your sleep, especially if its been a while since your last new mattress.
Making sure your bedroom is a comfortable temperature can also help you get a better nights sleep. Cooler temperatures tend to be the best for good sleep, so consider opening a window or using a fan while you sleep.
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How A Lack Of Sleep Can Affect Your Diabetes
Experts associate a lack of sleep with an altered hormone balance that can affect food intake and weight. If you have diabetes, you face a challenging circle. Its common to compensate for a lack of sleep by eating an excess amount of food to try to gain energy through calories.
This can cause your blood sugar levels to rise and make it harder to achieve a decent amount of sleep. Then, you may find yourself in this same sleepless situation.
A lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity. Being obese can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Follow these tips to get a better nights rest.
How Are You Sweetening Your Coffee What You Add To Your Cup May Affect Your Blood Sugar Levels
Whether you were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been living with the condition for several years, you know how fickle blood sugar levels can be, and how important it is that they stay controlled.
Proper blood sugar control is key for warding off potential diabetes complications, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, vision problems, stroke, and heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health . Plus, keeping your levels in check on a daily basis can help you stay energized, focused, and in a good mood, explains Lisa McDermott, RD, CDCES, a diabetes specialist with the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network.
According to the American Diabetes Association , proper medication, effective meal planning, regular exercise, and regular blood sugar checks can all help you keep your levels within a healthy range. The ADA recommends blood glucose stay within 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter before meals and below 180 mg/dL two hours after the start of a meal. Furthermore, the organization recommends getting an A1C test, which measures your average blood glucose over the past two to three months, at least twice per year if your levels are stable and you are meeting treatment goals.
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What Is The Somogyi Effect
A second possible cause of high blood sugar levels in the morning is the Somogyi effect, sometimes also called rebound hyperglycemia. It was named after the doctor who first wrote about it.
If your blood sugar drops too low in the middle of the night while you are sleeping, your body will release hormones in an attempt to rescue you from the dangerously low blood sugar. The hormones do this by prompting your liver to release stored glucose in larger amounts than usual. But this system isnt perfect in a person with diabetes, so the liver releases more sugar than needed which leads to a high blood sugar level in the morning. This is the Somogyi effect.
How To Stabilize High Blood Sugar At Night
When your blood sugar rises at night, there are different actions you can take to tackle the causes and effects.
The symptom of increased urination is the bodys natural reaction to get rid of the excess amount of sugar in the blood. It is therefore important to drink enough to stimulate this process.
It is very important to not do any exercise while your blood glucose level is too high . Instead it is advised to measure your ketones and have a low intensity work out or postpone exercise, depending on your measurements. This is recommended because there may not be enough insulin available to lower the blood glucose that is released during exercise. This can cause more frequent urination that can lead to dehydration. Especially when you lose more water from sweating and breathing during exercise. Furthermore, if the body is forced to burn fat for fuel, as is the case when insulin levels are too low, this can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Read on to learn more about this condition.
Your blood sugar spike at night might be caused by eating too much food at dinnertime compared to the amount of insulin you inject in your body. When you do feel like a snack, consider measuring your blood glucose to see if it should be a snack with a high or low amount of carbohydrates. Read more about this in our food and diabetes guide.
Enough diabetes treatment
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Low Blood Sugar At Night Is A Common Danger For People With Diabetes It Is Important For Both You And Your Sleep Partner To Know The Warning Signs And Have A Plan For Treatment
Untreated hypoglycemia can lead to a seizure and be life-threatening.
You know it is important to have tight control of you blood sugar with diabetes. Tight control is how you prevent diabetes complications. One of the dangers of tight control is letting your blood sugar get too low, called hypoglycemia.
The most dangerous time for hypoglycemia is when you are sleeping, a condition called nocturnal hypoglycemia. Up to 50 percent of diabetics may have episodes of nocturnal hypoglycemia. In fact, almost 50 percent of hypoglycemic episodes occur at night and more than half of dangerous episodes occur at night.
Causes Of High Blood Sugar At Night
There are many causes of high blood sugar at night, including:
- A dinner or bedtime snack high in carbohydrates: Eating starchy or high-sugar foods late in the day can lead to high blood sugar at night, as well as high blood sugar in the morning.
- Illness or injury: Trauma can trigger a hypermetabolic response , leading to high blood sugar.
- Too little exercise: Exercise helps the body more effectively use insulin, so lack of exercise could contribute to high blood sugar.
- Too little insulin or diabetes medicine: When the body does not produce insulin or does not use insulin effectively and you dont properly take your injectable insulin or diabetes medicine, glucose can accumulate in the bloodstream.
- Menstruation: Estradiol and progesterone are two hormones linked to a decreased production of insulin, which affects glucose metabolism and can potentially lead to high blood sugar.
- Pregnancy: Hormone levels fluctuate during pregnancy. Diabetes that occurs during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes.
- Stress: Stress, as measured by levels of a hormone called cortisol, is linked to decreased insulin production. When your body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose cannot get into your cells and be used for energy. As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar. When people are stressed, they may also overeat sugary foods or adopt other unhealthy eating habits.
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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 to 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 rollercoaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.
Do you know all of these blood sugar triggers?
Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:
How Diabetes And High Blood Sugar Affects Your Sleep
To make matters worse? Having diabetes usually makes quality sleep even more elusive. Heres how:
- Sleep Apnea: Many people who have type 2 diabetes also suffer from sleep apnea. When untreated, pauses in breathing can cause people to wake up hundreds of times throughout the night.
- Peripheral Neuropathy: Nerve damage in the legs or feet is common among people with diabetes, and can lead to tingling, numbness, burning, or pain that can make it tougher to doze off.
- Restless Leg Syndrome: Another condition common among those with diabetes, RLS can cause feelings of needing to move your legs while sitting or lying down, which can make it harder to fall or stay asleep.
- High or Low Blood Sugar: Both can make it difficult to achieve restful sleep. Too-high blood sugar can leave you feeling hot, irritable, or unsettled. Blood sugar thats too low could result in nightmares, or cause you to wake up feeling sweaty or clammy.
- Nocturia: Nocturia, or nighttime urination, is a common problem among diabetics thats usually the result of uncontrolled blood sugar. Having higher amounts of sugar in your urine may cause you to wake up and have to go more frequently during the night.
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What Are Some Tips To Prevent Nighttime Blood Sugar Level Dips
What Happens To Blood Sugar While You Sleep
Itâs tied to whether the hormone insulin, which removes glucose from the blood, is working the way itâs supposed to. Blood sugar levels surge while youâre sleeping, usually around 4 to 8 a.m. for someone with a normal sleep schedule. In a healthy person, insulin can handle the surge by telling muscle, fat, and liver cells to absorb the glucose from the blood, which keeps your levels stable.
For people who have diabetes or who are likely to get it, insulin canât do that job very well, so blood sugar levels will rise higher.
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Why Blood Sugar Levels Rise Overnight
When you go to bed, your blood sugar reading is 110, but when you wake up in the morning, it has shot up to 150. Why does this happen?
To understand how blood sugar levels can rise overnight without your eating anything, we have to look at where glucose comes from and where it goes while we sleep.
During the day, the carbohydrates we eat are digested into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. Some of this glucose goes to the liver, where it is stored for later use.
At night, while we are asleep, the liver releases glucose into the bloodstream. The liver acts as our glucose warehouse and keeps us supplied until we eat breakfast. The amount of glucose being used is matched by the amount of glucose being released by the liver, so blood sugar levels should remain constant.