Techniques To Manage Your Blood Sugar In The Morning
Based on your glucose levels and trends, there are a few things you can do to manage your glucose levels so they dont run high in the morning. Some of these strategies focus on adjusting medications to better suit your needs. Other strategies include adjusting your exercise routine, as well as what and when you are eating before bed.
If your glucose levels are in range before bed, they may rise throughout the night without enough insulin. This can be especially true for people who take long-acting insulin in the morning, since it may be wearing off before your next dose.
Consider changing the time of day when you take your long-acting insulin. You may also benefit from switching to either twice-daily basal insulin or ultra-long-acting insulin, or from starting on an insulin pump. Read our article, Are You on the Right Kind of Insulin, to learn more.
Check your blood glucose during the night between 3 am and 8 am. If you are running high during these hours, you may be experiencing the dawn phenomenon.
Talk with your healthcare team about finding the best nighttime insulin regimen for you. If you take basal insulin, you may need to delay the timing of your dose to as close to bedtime as possible. Another option is to try an insulin pump or automated insulin delivery system. AID systems will automatically adjust your basal insulin doses throughout the night to help keep your glucose levels stable.
Best Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
When treated early, you can bring high blood sugar levels down and prevent complications, including DKA.
Some sources suggest that drinking water or eating a high protein snack can quickly lower your blood sugar levels, though there isnt enough research to support this.
If you have high blood sugar and need to lower it fast, try the following methods:
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.
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Do Some Physical Activity
Physical activity, whether its walking, jogging,bicycling, or dancing helps lower blood sugars both in the short-term and long-term. When you move, your cells take up glucose from the blood to be used as energy, thereby lowering blood sugars. You dont have to rush to the gym, either going for a walk, marching in place, or turning on the tunes and dancing at home can do wonders for your blood sugars. However, if you take insulin and your blood sugars are above 250 mg/dl, you should first check your urine for ketones using ketone strips. If you have ketones, dont exercise , and contact your provider.
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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.
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Why Are My Blood Sugars High In The Morning
Heres a simple plan for diagnosing the source of high blood sugars in the morning.
It takes a little bit of effort, but you probably only need to do it a few times to diagnose the issue.
To diagnose either dawn phenomenon or Somogyi effect, experts recommend checking blood sugar levels for several nights, specifically between 3 a.m and 5 a.m.
Compare these three glucose values and find the pattern:
- If your blood sugar stayed steady overnight, but rose in the morning, you are likely experiencing dawn phenomenon.
- If your blood sugar rose steadily throughout the night, your morning glucose highs may be the result of your diet choices , or a sign that you may want to adjust your insulin and glucose-lowering medication regimen.
- If your blood sugar dipped low in the middle of the night, you may be experiencing Somogyi effect.
The best option is to use a continuous glucose monitoring system . This will give you an entire nights worth of blood sugar values, making it easy to identify what direction your blood sugar moved while you slept, without having to set an alarm in the middle of the night.
Check Your Blood Glucose Levels
For many people with diabetes, checking their blood glucose level each day is an important way to manage their diabetes. Monitoring your blood glucose level is most important if you take insulin. The results of blood glucose monitoring can help you make decisions about food, physical activity, and medicines.
The most common way to check your blood glucose level at home is with a blood glucose meter. You get a drop of blood by pricking the side of your fingertip with a lancet. Then you apply the blood to a test strip. The meter will show you how much glucose is in your blood at the moment.
Ask your health care team how often you should check your blood glucose levels. Make sure to keep a record of your blood glucose self-checks. You can print copies of this glucose self-check chart. Take these records with you when you visit your health care team.
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When To Contact Your Healthcare Provider
If you have two blood sugar readings of 300 mg/dL or more or have blood sugar above your target range for more than a week, seek immediate medical help.
Hyperglycemia can turn into a medical emergency like DKA and HHS that requires immediate intervention by your practitioner or a local emergency department.
Signs of hyperglycemia include:
- Ketones in your urine
- Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
Preventing Low Blood Sugar Levels
Here are some other tips to help you avoid low blood sugar levels:
- Eat all your meals and snacks on time and try not to skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
- Don’t take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly, so you can tell if your blood sugars are running too low and your treatment plan needs adjustment.
- Carry something containing sugar with you at all times and take it right away if you have symptoms. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms will go away they may get worse!
Alcohol and drugs can cause major problems with your blood sugar levels, so avoiding them is another way to prevent diabetes problems. Drinking can be particularly dangerous even deadly for people with diabetes because it messes up the body’s ability to keep blood glucose in a normal range. This can cause a very rapid drop in blood glucose in people with diabetes. Drug or alcohol use is also dangerous because it may affect someone’s ability to sense low blood sugar levels.
Learning how to recognize the signs of low blood sugar levels and get them back to normal is an important part of caring for diabetes. Keeping track of your blood sugar levels and recording lows when they occur will help you and your diabetes health care team keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
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Manage Your Carb Intake
Your carb intake strongly influences your blood sugar levels .
Your body breaks carbs down into sugars, mainly glucose. Then, insulin helps your body use and store it for energy.
When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails, and blood glucose levels can rise.
Thats why the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes manage their carb intake by counting carbs and being aware of how many they need .
Some studies find that this can help you plan your meals appropriately, further improving blood sugar management (
Foods that are high in fiber include:
The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. Thats about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories .
Eating plenty of fiber can aid blood sugar management. Soluble dietary fiber appears to be more effective than insoluble fiber for this purpose.
Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar In The Morning
If you wear a continuous glucose monitor , or if you routinely check your blood glucose every morning, you can see whether or not you are experiencing early morning hyperglycemia. In addition, you may also experience some of the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia, which may include:
- Frequent and excessive urination
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Problems Caused By High Blood Sugar
It’s not usually a serious problem if your blood sugar is sometimes slightly high for a short time.
But high blood sugar can cause serious problems if it stays high for a long time or gets to a very high level.
It can lead to:
- life-threatening conditions such as diabetic ketoacidosis
If you have high blood sugar, your doctor or care team may ask you to test your blood or pee to check for ketones. A high level of ketones is a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis.
How Can High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning Be Controlled
Once you and your doctor determine how your blood sugar levels are behaving at night, he or she can advise you about the changes you need to make to better control them. Options that your doctor may discuss depend on the cause of the morning high blood sugars.
For dawn phenomenon:
- Changing the timing or type of your diabetes medications
- Eating a lighter breakfast
- Increasing your morning dose of diabetes medication
- If you take insulin, switching to an insulin pump and programming it to release additional insulin in the morning
For Somogyi effect:
- Diabetes Forecast. Why Is My Blood Glucose So High in the Morning? Accessed 8/8/2018.
- American Diabetes Association. Somogyi effect, also called rebound hyperglycemia Accessed 8/8/2018.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. Dawn Phenomenon. Accessed 8/8/2018.
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Why Isnt My Blood Sugar Coming Down
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Adopt A Healthy Morning Ritual
Developing a morning ritual is a great habit for a healthy mind and body and it will also help lower your morning blood sugar as well.
When you get up, have a small protein/ fat combined snack , then try doing some stretching or go for a shortwalk first thing in the morning just 5-10 minutes to get moving.
Exercise improves insulin sensitivity and moves glucose out of the muscles and into the cells.
Its often best to have that protein/ fat snack first though, before you do the exercise.
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Beware Of Low Blood Sugars
Remember, above all else, its very easy to over-treat a high blood sugar and wind up low. Then youll be tempted to binge-eat and wind up high again. This blood sugar roller coaster is exhausting and dangerous, too.
Frequently finding yourself on the blood sugar roller coaster means your approach to taking insulin and/or how you treat low blood sugars isnt working and needs some fine-tuning. Work with your healthcare team to reduce and prevent these wild swings to ensure your overall safety and quality of life!
Stick To Your Medication And Insulin Regimen
Skipping a dose of medication or insulin can be harmful to your body and increase your blood sugar levels.
Its important to stick to your treatment plan and follow your doctors instructions for taking your medication.
Healthful lifestyle habits can help people manage their blood sugar levels over the long term, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, staying hydrated, and getting good sleep.
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A Simple Trick To Lower Morning Blood Sugar
If youre type 2 diabetic, you may be wondering why your blood sugar is so high in the morning.
Every other time you test, your levels seem to be within range
But those morning levels, sometimes they are sky high and it puts you in a panic, questioning what on earth you may be doing wrong.
Firstly, stop panicking morning rises are a common occurrence in diabetics. However, it is important to understand why it happens and what you can do about it
How Do You Feel When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
The symptoms can be subtle the increase in thirst, or more frequent urination. So many people do not even realize that they need to lower your blood sugar level. If you dont, you are at a greater risk of developing diabetes. It can take up to 12 years for diabetes to develop. Evidence shows the ability to reverse diabetes is greater when a healthy lifestyle is emphasized early.
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Monitor Blood Sugar Levels Closely
High blood sugar typically refers to levels over 180 mg/dl . However, a person often does not experience symptoms until the levels exceed 200 mg/dl. As such, it is essential for a person with diabetes to check their blood sugar several times a day. Doing so should mean that blood sugar levels never get excessively high.
A person with diabetes can use an at-home glucose monitor to check their blood sugar levels. One option is a continuous glucose monitor, which is a medical device that easily enables a person to check their blood sugar levels.
The recommended number of times to check glucose levels during the day will vary from person to person. A doctor can make the best recommendations regarding the frequency of testing.