How To Avoid High Morning Blood Sugar
Weve all been there before.
You wake up. Lay in bed for a few minutes before getting up. Check your blood sugar. 115 stares back at you.
You smile to yourself: life is good.
Forty minutes later, when you sit down to eat, your blood sugar meter or CGM tells you that you are now at 180 ! You have eaten NOTHING. All youve done is prepare for the day and prepare food. Now you face the grim potential of chasing your high blood sugars all day long.
What is going on??
Let me explain why your blood sugar sometimes can be high in the morning and what you can do about it
How Blood Sugar Testing Could Help You
Whenever you eat, your blood sugar level rises, before dropping again some time later. This is called a postprandial, or post-meal, response and is perfectly normal.
However, some foods cause your blood sugar to rise much higher than others. These spikes can lead to bigger dips afterward due to large amounts of insulin released in response to the sugar spike. This can leave you feeling tired or lacking in energy.
Over time, this pattern can increase your risk of metabolic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Importantly, ZOEs research has shown that everyone responds differently to foods. This means a food thats fine for one persons blood sugar may cause others to spike, and vice versa.
ZOEs at-home test uses a sensor called a continuous glucose monitor to measure your blood sugar levels throughout the day and night, before and after you eat. This helps us to see how different foods affect your levels.
But unlike having just a CGM, our tests also look at your blood fat levels and your gut microbiome the bacteria and other microorganisms that live in your gut. These are both linked to your metabolic health, too.
The ZOE program analyzes all of this information to give you personalized recommendations that can help you eat the best foods for your unique metabolism and avoid the responses associated with worse metabolic health.
You can take a free quiz to find out more.
Hashimotos Fasting And Keto
I believe there is a way to reverse Hash! I feel so much better on keto and IF than any treatment over the past three years. Have you had any patients reversing Hashi with this program?
Thank you so much for all your work for all of us,Martha
Answer: I dont see Hashimotos very frequently so dont have much experience. Fasting and low carb diets usually drop insulin so are effective for diseases of excessive insulin such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and PCOS. However, it may also have a smaller effect on inflammation so it may certainly benefit Hashimotos as well, but there are no studies to prove this, and I have only limited clinical experience with Hashimotos.
Dr. Jason Fung
- Women’s questions introduction 01:36 In this video series, you can find expert views on some of your top questions about low-carb and women’s health.
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When To Speak To Your Doctor
If you try eating earlier, sticking to healthier meals, and exercising without seeing a drop in your fasting blood glucose, it might be time to speak to your doctor about further testing.
Tests like the HbA1c can help your doctor confirm whether youd benefit from medical treatment. This test shows your average blood glucose levels over the last 3 months.
Your doctor may recommend controlling your fasting blood sugar level through diet or exercise if its high enough to suggest prediabetes.
If type 2 diabetes is developing, they may prescribe medication or insulin injections if it becomes moderate to severe, but its possible for many people to manage type 2 diabetes with exercise and diet alone.
If you already have a diabetes diagnosis and take insulin, speak to your healthcare provider about whether they can change your dose or type of insulin or recommend a shift in your medication schedule.
How High Blood Sugar Impacts Sleep
The symptoms you may experience with high blood sugar at night could make it difficult for you to sleep, including falling and staying asleep. Depending on when you eat prior to bedtime, your digestive system may wake you up at odd hours.
A related issue is known as the dawn phenomenon, which is when you wake up with high blood sugar in the morning. This can also be caused by overeating foods in the evening that cause high blood sugar.
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What To Do If You Have High Blood Sugar In The Morning
If you experience the dawn phenomenonor high blood sugar in the morningtry the following:
- Keep blood sugar balanced during the day by eating nutritious meals and snacks.
- Avoid these things that cause high blood sugar during the day.
- Minimize alcohol intake and have a snack with it.
- Eat dinner earlier in the evening.
- If youre hungry, have a protein and fat-forward snack before bed.
- Do something active after dinner, like going for a walk or light yoga.
- Check with your health care provider about the medicine youre taking.
- Dont skip breakfast! It helps bring your blood sugar back to normal.
What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning
Commonly known reasons why your blood sugar may be high in the morning include high-carb bedtime snacks and not enough diabetes medications.
Yet two lesser-known reasons may be causing your morning blood sugar woes: the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect. These causes of high morning blood sugar levels are a result of body changes and reactions that happen while you are sleeping.
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No More High Blood Sugar In The Morning
Its important to recognise that morning hyperglycemia is fairly normal: its usually your body trying to get you ready for the day .But you can help your body help itself by trying out some changes in your routine or medication. And Hedia wants to help you to help your body to help itself! Give yourself a good morning by visiting the App Store and
Is It Safe To Sleep With High Blood Sugar
Glucose levels that are occasionally a little high at night generally dont pose serious, immediate health concerns. Most people with diabetes cannot avoid some high glucose levels. However, frequent or long-term highs particularly extremely high levels can be dangerous. It is important for people with diabetes to reduce high blood sugar as much as possible for two key reasons:
Frequent hyperglycemia can lead to major health complications caused by damage to blood vessels and nerves, which can affect your eyes, heart, kidneys, and other organs. This occurs when glucose levels are too high over a long period of time.
Very high glucose levels can be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis . This occurs mainly in people with type 1 diabetes and can be life-threatening. For more information on DKA, read Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis: Whats the Difference.
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Why Is My Blood Sugar High In The Morning
High blood sugar in the morning is mysterious to the extent that it may be a phenomenon. Specifically: the dawn phenomenon.
This is where hormones are released in the early hours of the morning. In turn, the hormones make the liver release its store of glycogen , thus raising blood sugar levels.
Its not exactly known why this happens, but these hormones are usually released to give extra energy. So, the theory is that the body releases extra glucose in order to give you extra energy to wake up and start the day.
Obviously, this extra glucose doesnt help those with diabetes, but at least the bodys trying. Its the thought that counts, right?
There may also be another potential reason for high blood sugar in the morning: the Somogyi phenomenon . This can occur as a result of insulin use.
Its theorised that taking insulin before bed can cause the body to have a rebound effect whilst sleeping. If insulin continues to lower blood sugar during sleep, and its not being treated, then the body responds in stress mode: it releases hormones to trigger a rise in blood sugar levels.
But for those with diabetes, this doesnt stabilise the blood sugar. That extra glucose cant be used without diabetes medication, and so, the blood sugar gets too high instead.
There could be other reasons for high blood sugar in the morning, such as too many carbs before bed or requiring a different level of insulin. We can look at what to do about that in a moment.
What To Do About The Dawn Phenomenon
The dawn phenomenon can be more of a problem if you have type 1 diabetes, in which the body struggles to make enough insulin, compared to type 2 diabetes, the more common form of diabetes, Dr. Parilo says.
People with type 2 diabetes can usually do something about it limit the amount of snacking the night before, reduce carbohydrates to lessen the impact, or reasons, for blood sugar elevation overnight, he explains.
Dr. Parilo said that a sign that you may need help managing the effects of dawn phenomenon on your diabetes is when, despite positive lifestyle changes that youve made, youre still noticing this escalation of blood sugar beyond the goals that you and your health care provider have set for you.
When this happens, he said, your doctor will likely recommend further changes to overcome the effect of the dawn phenomenon. Perhaps, timing exercise or timing the types of meals or timing your medications to peak or work . Then the blood sugar may not escalate to the same extent.
If you use insulin, he said, we can change the type, the timing of it, and that can often positively affect the problem.
When you have diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar is a must for helping you live with the disease and limit its impact on your well-being. Continuous glucose monitors, available by prescription, can be especially helpful in controlling the effects of dawn phenomenon, Dr. Parilo said.
Other Causes Of High Morning Blood Sugar
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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.
What Can You Do About It
You might be able to make changes in the timing of your meals, medications, or insulin injections to help prevent dawn phenomenon. First, keep a detailed record of what’s happening in the evening and in the morning, including your blood sugar levels, eating habits, medications or insulin, and physical activity. Then, talk to your health care provider or diabetes educator about changes you can make to prevent dawn phenomenon.
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Will Blood Sugars Rise Later In Morning Without Eating
Keeping track of your blood sugar levels is not only important if you have diabetes, but it can also help you achieve a healthy weight, maintain good energy levels and prevent chronic diseases. You can easily obtain a blood glucose meter at your drugstore to check your blood sugar levels at different times throughout the day to see how your body reacts to the foods you eat. Your blood sugar levels can also change even when you go a few hours without eating. For example, skipping breakfast and not eating in the morning is likely to induce a rise in your blood sugar.
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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.
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Can Low Blood Sugar Cause Sleep Problems
Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, can cause sleep problems. Hypoglycemia can occur in people with or without diabetes. Nocturnal hypoglycemia is a form of hypoglycemia that occurs at night.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, low blood sugar during sleep can cause the following symptoms:
Glucose Meters Can Give False Readings
While physiologic reasons cause higher glucose readings, technical reasons can cause them, too. The US Federal Drug Administration allows home glucose monitors to have a variance of 15% in results. That means a reading of 100 mg/dl might actually be as low as 85 mg/dl or as high as 115, a huge variation!9
Dave Feldman, the software engineer who has cracked the Cholesterol Code, has blogged about his glucose meter variance, charting and taking pictures of his two glucose meters, measuring the same drop of blood. While he was expecting his blood glucose set point to be higher because of his long-term low-carb keto eating, he was surprised by the sometimes huge variation in results. He notes that whenever he gets an unexpected result, he takes three readings, all within a few minutes of each other, and then averages the result.
Other researchers have noted that false readings can be caused by pricking a finger for blood with hands that have minute traces of sugar or food Dehydration raises results, too. You should always wash your hands before testing, but some soaps have additives like honey or a fragrance that can linger on fingers and distort readings. As well, strips that are too hot or too cold, or other environmental conditions like high altitudes, can produce higher or lower readings. Even different lots of strips can produce different results on the same meter.
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How Does Blood Glucose Affect Sleep
Just as sleep affects blood sugar levels, blood sugar levels may also impact sleep quality. A study of people with type 2 diabetes found that those with higher blood sugar levels experience poorer sleep. Another study found that 62% of people with glucose levels in the pre-diabetes range are likely to have poor sleep, compared to 46% of people with normal glucose levels.
Researchers arent certain why increased blood sugar may be associated with poor sleep and more study is necessary to understand the relationship.
How To Prevent Morning Hyperglycemia
While morning hyperglycemia could be the bodys automatic response, you can certainly take steps to try to prevent it.
You could try some general steps that could help lower blood sugar in the night, such as eating your evening meals earlier in the day or having fewer carbs in your evening meal.
Alternatively, you could consider doing exercise in the evening, such as a brisk walk before bed. You might also consider changing your medication doses for the night or changing the type of insulin you use. As always, make such changes in consultation with your healthcare professional.
If you think that the high blood sugar might be caused by the dawn phenomenon, then try to make sure that you are well-rested. If your body is getting enough rest, with a full eight hours of sleep, then it might not think that it needs to release that extra energy. More generally, stress and diabetes leads to higher blood sugar levels so it is worth getting enough sleep.
With the Somogyi phenomenon, youll want to take the opposite steps because you want to prevent low blood sugar during the night. It may seem somewhat counterintuitive, but you might need to take less insulin, or eat more carbs, or do less exercise before bed.
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