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What Is High Blood Sugar In The Morning

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Check Your Blood Glucose Before Sleeping

Why Blood Sugar is High In The Morning: The Real Reason!

If your blood sugar level is high before bedtime then it will remain high throughout the night and hence you will wake up with an elevated level of blood sugar. Consider changing your dinner time, along with the kind of food you are eating to notice a significant difference in your glucose levels. Also, consider adding some basic physical exercise such as a 10-15 minute walk daily to lower your glucose .

Wait Why Is Your Blood Sugar Up In The Morning

Why is it that your blood sugar levels will rise overnight? You dont eat anything, so how can you possibly add any glucose to your system?

Well, those who suffer from type II diabetes will find this is most problematic. The body still creates glucose throughout the night. It needs to, whether youve eaten something or not. This natural process is called gluconeogenesis, and there is nothing you can do to stop it nor would you want to. In a healthy person, this process doesnt cause a major problem.

Those with diabetes will find the gluconeogenesis process is increased. That means your body produces more glucose naturally than it would if you were healthy.

Lets not forget that the stress hormone cortisol also plays a part. This increases slowly on a morning until it reaches a peak early in the morning. The cortisol will elevate the blood sugar levels, so you end up with naturally higher levels on a morning.

To keep your blood sugar levels down, you need to keep your cortisol and gluconeogenesis levels down. Theres no need for extra medication when you follow the seven tips that will follow.

How To Fix High Blood Sugars In The Morning

The Dawn Phenomenon

More than half of people with diabetes are thought to experience dawn phenomenon, and it can lead to significant increases in A1C.

The dawn phenomenon begins when your body secretes a surge of hormones, including growth hormone, cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon. These hormones start working very early each morning around the same time to prepare your body to wake. Basically, your body is starting the engine, releasing some fuel, and prepping to go for the day.

These hormones trigger the conversion of the livers glycogen stores into glucose, which is then dumped into the blood in a process called glycogenolysis.

This general process occurs in all humans regardless of whether they have diabetes. In people without diabetes, the bodys natural insulin response prevents the blood sugars from rising. In people with diabetes, though, the body is unable to produce a healthy insulin response, and therefore blood glucose levels spike up.

The Mayo Clinic suggests several strategies you can try to combat the effects of dawn phenomenon:

  • Use an insulin pump to administer extra insulin during early-morning hours.
  • Avoid carbohydrates at bedtime.
  • Adjust your dose of medication or insulin.
  • Switch to a different glucose-lowering medication.
  • Adjust the time when you take your medication or insulin from dinnertime to bedtime.

Feet on the Floor Effect

High Blood Sugars from the Night Before

Reactive Hypoglycemia

Here are some things you could try to reduce this occurrence:

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Consider The Timing Of Insulin Or Medications

Considering the timing of insulin or other medications may also help. This is because its possible that you may not have enough in your system to counteract the effects of the dawn phenomenon in the early morning hours.

Potential things to try include:

  • taking your insulin or diabetes medications prior to bed
  • using long-acting insulin a little later in the day
  • programing an insulin pump to give more insulin in the early morning hours

Adjusting your insulin or medications can potentially have other health effects. Because of this, always speak with your doctor before doing so. For example, using too much before bed may cause you to have low blood sugar during the night, which can also be dangerous.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends seeing your doctor if your blood sugar is high more than three times in a 2-week period.

Your doctor may suggest continuous glucose monitoring to evaluate your blood sugar levels during the night. This can help determine if youre experiencing the dawn phenomenon, the Somogyi effect, or something else.

Your doctor may also choose to adjust or switch your insulin or diabetes medication. For example, programing an insulin pump to give more insulin in the early morning hours can help to counteract the dawn phenomenon.

Why Is My Blood Sugar High In The Morning But Normal All

What To Do About High Blood Sugar In The Morning

Modified: Apr 22, 2022 by John Coleman · This post may contain affiliate links ·

Elevated blood sugar, or abnormal blood glucose, is a health-threatening condition requiring steps. It is an alarm from the body that should not be ignored. Hyperglycemia can be lowered through proper diet and physical activity in many cases.


Diabetes is a disease characterized by elevated glucose levels in the blood, or what is called hyperglycemia. There are different types of diabetes:

Type 1 – insulin-dependent diabetes is an autoimmune disease that develops due to a lack of insulin, which occurs because of damage to the pancreatic islets.

Type 2 – insulin-dependent diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and relative insulin deficiency.

There is a reason why fasting blood glucose targets are the most stringent – we should wake up with sugar between 70-110 mg/dl. Upon waking up too high, a blood sugar level can effectively spoil our mood because it makes it challenging to maintain normoglycemia during the day. Still, above all, it is awful for health.

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Finding The Cause Of Your Morning Blood Sugar High

Though the three most likely causes of high morning blood sugar can all be treated, first you have to know which one is the source of your condition. “If youre not sure, you might have to take the somewhat inconvenient step of waking up to check your blood sugar levels in the middle of your sleep pattern ” suggests Amori. Heres why:

  • Consistent blood sugar from bedtime until about 3 a.m. and then a rise suggests the dawn phenomenon.
  • Low blood sugar at 3 a.m. suggests the Somogyi effect.
  • Blood sugar that increases from bedtime to 3 a.m. and then is even higher when you wake is probably due to waning insulin.

Using a continuous glucose monitor enables you to get this information without having to wake up for it. “These monitors potentially help identify patterns and severity of high and low blood sugars,” explains Amori.

Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar Levels In Morning

In the morning, a persons blood sugar levels are generally somewhat higher. However, in certain persons with diabetes, these levels are considerably high.

Symptoms of diabetes can continue for long periods.

Carbohydrate-induced blood sugar imbalances may lead to a wide range of symptoms. These might get worse as time goes on, as a result of these blood sugar spikes.

Healthy blood sugar levels are defined as follows by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:

  • Just before eating, from 80130 mg/dl 2 hours after eating, and below 180 mg/dl 2 hours following a meal.
  • Furthermore, they observe that a blood sugar level of less than 70 mg/dl is hypoglycemia. A high blood sugar level is defined as anything over 180 mg/dL.

The dawn phenomenon, the Somogyi effect, and Waning insulin are the three primary causes of elevated blood sugar in the morning.

This article explores these causes. It will also include what they can mean for a persons health and when to see a doctor.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor About High Blood Sugar

Please ask your health care professional about the following:

  • How to recognize high blood sugar levels
  • How to treat a high blood sugar level when it occurs in you, a family member, or coworkers
  • How to prevent the blood sugar level from becoming too high
  • How to contact the medical staff during an emergency
  • What emergency supplies to carry to treat high blood sugar
  • Additional educational materials regarding high blood sugar

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How To Test Your Blood Sugar Levels

High blood sugar in the morning gestational diabetes

After you wake up in the morning, check your fasting blood sugar levels using a blood glucose meter or continuous glucose monitor . Before you use a blood glucose meter, the ADA recommends washing your hands and using the lancing device to get a drop of blood. After you hold the test strip against the drop of blood, your blood sugar levels should appear on the meter.

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How Can You Tell The Difference

The Somogyi effect can occur any time you or your child has extra insulin in the body. To sort out whether an early morning high blood sugar level is caused by the dawn phenomenon or Somogyi effect, check blood sugar levels at bedtime, around 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., and at your normal wake-up time for several nights. A continuous glucose monitor could also be used throughout the night.

  • If the blood sugar level is low at 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., suspect the Somogyi effect.
  • If the blood sugar level is normal or high at 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., it’s likely the dawn phenomenon.

The Dawn Phenomenon Or The Somogyi Effect

The only way to be sure what is causing your high blood sugar in the morning is to wake up several nights in a row and check your blood glucose between 2 and 4 o’clock. If the result is normal or high, it may indicate a dawn phenomenon. If it is too low, it can result in a rebound of diabetes.

The most common causes of morning hypoglycemia

  • eating a meal rich in fat and protein before bedtime without insulin protection,
  • the improperly selected dose of an antidiabetic drug, too low a dose of basal insulin,
  • injecting insulin in the wrong place,
  • injecting insulin into the hypertrophied subcutaneous tissue,
  • inappropriate timing of basal insulin administration,
  • unacceptable type of basal insulin,
  • inadequate mixing of insulin before injection,
  • the dawn phenomenon,
  • Somogyi effect.

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What If Your Morning Blood Sugar Level Is High

Due to certain hormonal changes, it is quite natural to have a relatively higher blood sugar levels in the morning. If you do not have diabetes, your body will produce enough insulin to bring your blood sugar back to normal again. It may not happen though if you have diabetes.

Your blood glucose levels may stay elevated because of insulin resistance, which refers to a condition in which your body’s fat cells and muscles fail to use insulin effectively. The condition also affects the function of your liver and changes the way it processes and releases sugar, especially at night.

The situation is different when you have type-2 diabetes because the liver starts releasing more glucose than is needed into your blood. It means that your hormones are causing your blood sugar to go up and your liver is also making things worse by releasing more sugar into your system. This leads to a spike in blood sugar levels that stay elevated unless you pay attention to your diet and exercise. You may also have to take medications to manage your blood sugar better.

What Should Your Blood Sugar Be When You Wake Up

Morning Fasting Glucose Range

Whenever possible, aim to keep your glucose levels in range between 70 and 130 mg/dL in the morning before you eat breakfast, and between 70 and 180 mg/dL at other times. For some people, including older adults or pregnant women, a slightly looser or tighter glucose range might be best, and you should discuss with your healthcare provider what your goals may be.

Managing your glucose levels is key to preventing short and long-term complications. Though the occasional high blood glucose wont put you in immediate danger consistently high glucose levels over a long period of time are associated with complications of diabetes such as heart disease and stroke, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, eye disease and more.

Additionally, high glucose levels especially in people with type 1 diabetes can put you in immediate danger. These high levels, if combined with high blood ketone levels, can cause diabetic ketoacidosis , a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a person has high blood ketones and not enough insulin. Symptoms of DKA include shortness of breath, fruity-smelling breath, nausea and vomiting, confusion, or loss of consciousness.

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Target Blood Sugar Levels For Pregnant People With Diabetes

It’s possible for diabetes to cause problems during pregnancy. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who have uncontrolled blood sugar levels could experience an increased risk of having a premature baby, needing a C-section and more.

Gestational diabetes â a type of diabetes that occurs in a pregnant person who has never been diagnosed with diabetes before â can also cause complications. These include giving birth to a baby who is larger than average and an increased risk of needing a C-section. The ADA suggests that pregnant people shoot for a target fasting blood sugar level of 95 mg/dL or less before a meal.

Keeping your blood glucose levels within the target range will help protect you and your baby.

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Blood Sugar Level Charts For Those With Diabetes

Normal blood sugar levels, for those with diabetes, will vary depending on someones age and the time of day. For example, when fasting, blood sugar levels are often in the target goal range. The type of food eaten will impact blood sugar levels in different ways. A meal with a lot of carbohydrates will raise blood sugar quicker than a meal that contains carbohydrates, protein, and fat . Blood sugar will rise after a meal, but will start to return to normal levels in several hours.

Lets take a look at what blood sugar levels should be, in those with diabetes, based on their age.

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High Blood Sugar In The Morning: Is It The Dawn Phenomenon

If you have high blood sugar levels in the morning, you may be experiencing the dawn phenomenon, the name given to an increase in blood sugar that usually occurs between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., according to the Mayo Clinic. One reason this occurs: During the early hours of the morning, our bodies secrete higher levels of a hormone called cortisol, says Dr. Spratt. When cortisol levels are high, it can make you more resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels.

“Some people have a striking dawn phenomenon,” says Dr. Spratt. “You can look at their continuous glucose tracing and see that their blood sugar level suddenly goes up at 3 a.m.” If this is the case for you, your doctor may adjust your insulin medication or suggest you use an insulin pump .

Hypoglycemia Known As The Somogyi Effect

The Dawn Effect – Why Is My Blood Sugar High in The Mornings?

This is less common but in some people with diabetes, low blood sugar can occur while you are sleeping.

The Somogyi effect is more common in diabetics who are insulin dependent. Its when your bodys glucose levels decrease quite significantly overnight and as a result your emergency system is activated. This sends messages to your hormones and organs to stimulate more glucose production to help raise your levels.

If youre insulin dependent and trying to identify why your blood sugar is so high in the morning, you might want to wake yourself up during the night to test your levels, just in case this might be your situation and your insulin dose needs to be adjusted, for instance, implementing a long-acting insulin. Or in some cases, people may choose to use a continuous insulin pump.

You can read more about the Somogyi effect here.

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Normal Blood Sugar Ranges In Healthy Non

For a person without any type of diabetes, blood sugar levels are generally between 70 to 130 mg/dL depending on the time of day and the last time they ate a meal.

Newer theories about non-diabetic blood sugar levels have included post-meal blood sugar levels as high as 140 mg/dL.

Here are the normal blood sugar ranges for a person without diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association:

  • Fasting blood sugar : Less than 100 mg/dL
  • 1-2 hours after a meal: Less than 140 mg/dL
  • 2-3 hours after eating: Less than 100 mg/dL

What Are Normal And High Morning Blood Sugar Levels

The term morning blood sugar describes your blood sugar level after you wake up but before you eat anything. This fasting measurement shows how well your body controlled your blood sugar overnight.

When you eat, it leads to an increase in blood sugar. Insulin lets the sugar leave your blood and enter the cells in your body, converting it into useful energy.

If you dont regularly monitor your blood sugar to manage a condition like diabetes, you may not be aware of your fasting blood sugar level. But you might want to understand what your levels mean if you get a result back from your regular physicians checkup.

Consistently high blood sugar can cause tiredness and mental fogginess and can lead to serious health problems if untreated, but most mild cases cause no noticeable symptoms at all.

Most people learn they have high blood sugar after seeing a doctor about something else.

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