Other Reasons For High Morning Blood Sugar Levels
If you continuously wake up with high blood sugar levels and haven’t eaten a bedtime snack the night before, your doctor may need to prescribe you more basal insulin , says Dr. Spratt.
However, if you typically eat a snack that contains carbohydrates before going to bed and don’t counteract it with rapid-acting insulin, your blood sugar levels may be higher in the morning as a result. Switch to a snack that won’t raise your blood sugar levels â for example, a pairing of ham and cheese or a few bites of non-sweetened peanut butter, she says.
âRead more:â How Long After Eating Does Blood Sugar Peak?
Lastly, if your blood sugar levels dip too low in the middle of the night, your body may release hormones that “rescue” you from dangerously low levels, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The result is that your liver releases stored glucose, causing your blood sugar levels to be higher than usual in the morning. This is called the Somogyi effect.
If you’re experiencing low blood sugar in the four to six hours after a meal, that’s a sign that your basal insulin dose is too high, says Dr. Spratt.
“A lot of people have lows of which they are not aware of,” she says. “They wake up and their blood sugar is high and assume they must need more insulin at night.” But, she explains, it’s important to check your blood sugar at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. to make sure you aren’t experiencing a drop in glucose levels.
Other Severe Symptoms Of Hyperglycaemia Include:
- Blood vessel damage
Mild hyperglycaemia, depending on the cause, will not typically require medical treatment. Most people with this condition can lower their blood sugar levels sufficiently through dietary and lifestyle changes.
Those with type 1 diabetes will require the administration of insulin , while those with type 2 diabetes will often use a combination of injectable and oral medications , although some may also require insulin.
The Danger Of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can become a lot more dangerous more quickly. Hypoglycemia, if left untreated, can quickly result in diabetic coma and death.
Low blood sugars will not lead to permanent complications in most cases but cause frequent, short-term complications in the form of being physically unable to function when experiencing a low. They require fast-acting glucose as treatment.
Symptoms of low blood sugar can hit different people at different times, and some people may not feel their low blood sugars at all , which can be very dangerous.
Continuous glucose monitoring systems and diabetes alert dogs can help people detect their lows earlier, before they become extremely dangerous.
Hypo unawareness occurs in about 40% of people with type 1 diabetes, and less frequently in people with type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, one study showed that the average person with type 1 diabetes experiences two episodes of low blood sugar per week!
Low blood sugars can happen for many reasons, all of which result from too much insulin in the bloodstream and not enough glucose for the body to function properly.
Reasons can be anything from taking too much insulin for food, to accidentally over-bolusing with an insulin pump, to not finishing a meal, to drinking alcohol in excess, or even after physical exertion and exercise while not reducing basal insulin settings appropriately.
Read Also: Does Low Blood Sugar Make You Sweat
High Blood Sugar Levels When You Wake Up
If your fasting glucose before breakfast is 100125 mg/dL , its higher than doctors would expect to see in a person with healthy blood sugar control.
Fasting blood glucose in this range means you could have prediabetes a health condition that significantly increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Is It Normal For Blood Sugar To Rise In The Morning
The bottom line: Yes, itâs normal for blood sugar to increase temporarily in the early morning hours, but your body should quickly take that excess blood glucose into your cells. As long as your morning blood sugar doesnât spike to pre-diabetic or diabetic levelsâor remain elevated for hours upon wakingâyour body is just doing its job.
Read Also: What Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels
What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the sugar found in your blood that comes mainly from the food you eat. Whenever you eat something, your digestive system breaks it down into smaller components, and one of the major components is glucose.
Glucose is our bodies preferred energy source. Its a necessary ingredient for maintaining the optimal function of your organs, muscles, and nervous system.
If you just ate a meal high in carbohydrates, starch, and/or sugar, your blood sugar will rise high over a normal fasting level. If you just had a meal of healthy fats and proteins, your blood sugar will not rise as high.
Blood sugar after meals that is continuously outside of the normal range can lead to major blood vessel and body tissue damage.
This damage creates toxic compounds called advanced glycation end products .
AGEs are proteins or lipids that are tagged with glucose molecules as a result of continuous exposure to high sugar levels. AGEs accelerate the aging process by depleting your bodys antioxidant stores.
They also wreak havoc in the body by damaging DNA and lead to the development, or worsening, of many diseases including diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and Alzheimers disease.
Fortunately, its very simple to measure the direct effect on your blood sugar of any kind of food, whether its a bowl of greens or a big juicy burger.
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.
You May Like: Where To Buy Raw Sugar Products
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 .
Levels In The Morning
The best time to check blood sugar levels in the morning is right when you wake up and before you eat anything. This gives you a glimpse of what may be happening overnight, and it gives you a baseline for the day.
These are goal levels, according to The Joslin Diabetes Center:
- Under 70 mg/dl if you do not have diabetes.
- 70 to 130 mg/dl if you have diabetes.
The dawn effect can often lead to a high morning measurement in diabetes. This is your bodys tendency to get ready for the day by raising blood sugar by increasing levels of counter-regulatory hormones the ones that counteract insulin as in normal blood sugar. For people with diabetes, you do not have the capacity to counterbalance this rise in blood sugar, so levels can be dangerously high.
Ways to lower your morning blood sugar value include:
- Eating dinner earlier
- Checking your medications making sure you are taking them properly and asking your doctor if they are correct
- Going for a walk after dinner
- Including protein with your dinner
Read Also: Can Low Blood Sugar Cause Shaking
This Isnt Dawn Phenomenon
Many people would blame this rise in blood sugar on dawn phenomenon , which has a similar endpoint, but a different mechanism. Dawn phenomenon is the result of hormones releasing in the body in the early morning predominantly growth hormone, cortisol, epinephrine, and glucagon which in turn increase insulin resistance. The current basal insulin from the pump or long-acting injections is no longer enough, and blood sugars rise.
That hormonal surge happens around 2 am-6 am, with most of it occurring in the middle of the night. Lets say you woke up at 7:30 am and arent in the DP zone. Its not DP. Then what?
Blood Sugar Chart: Summary
The fasting blood sugar, 2-hour post-meal blood sugar, and HbA1C tests are important ways to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, as well as indicate how well a persons diabetes is being managed. If you think you have diabetes, its important to not try and diagnose yourself by doing a finger-stick with a home blood glucose meter. There are strict standards and procedures that laboratories use for diagnosing diabetes therefore, you should get tested at your doctors office or at a laboratory.
Its also important to talk with your doctor to make sure you understand a) how often you should have certain tests, such as a fasting blood glucose or HbA1C test b) what your results mean and c) what your blood sugar and HbA1C targets are.
If you have not been previously diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes but your results are above normal, your doctor may recommend other tests and should discuss a plan of treatment with you. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, a healthy eating plan, and regular physical activity. You may need to start taking diabetes medications, including insulin. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, its recommended that you learn how to check your blood sugars with a meter so that you and your health care team can determine how your treatment plan is working for you.
Also Check: How To Lower My Sugar
Follow Your Diabetes Meal Plan
Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team. Following a meal plan will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Choose fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, chicken or turkey without the skin, fish, lean meats, and nonfat or low-fat milk and cheese. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt. Learn more about eating, diet, and nutrition with diabetes.
Achieving Normal Fasting Glucose Level
The very first thing is to watch out the figures lower than 70 mg/dl. In case youve been experiencing more than two episodes of low figures then you should consult your doctor.
The most probable cause include medicine you are taking and diet youre following. And that should be corrected to keep glucose level under control.
Trying to achieve normal fasting glucose level means you must work hard on it and never surrender.
If this is so hard for you, try this natural alternative by
Also Check: Can Fasting Help You Lose Weight
You May Like: Can You Have Sugar On The Keto Diet
How Is It Determined If The Dawn Phenomenon Or Somogyi Effect Is Causing The High Blood Sugar Levels
Your doctor will likely ask you to check your blood sugar levels between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. for several nights in a row. If your blood sugar is consistently low during this time, the Somogyi effect is suspected. If the blood sugar is normal during this time period, the dawn phenomenon is more likely to be the cause.
Some additional clues that the Somogyi effect may be the cause include nightmares, restless sleep and overnight sweating as these are all signs of low blood sugar levels.
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.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
Also Check: How Long Does Low Blood Sugar Last
What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
When youre first diagnosed with diabetes, your diabetes care team will usually tell you what your blood sugar level is and what you should aim to get it down to.
You may be advised to use a testing device to monitor your blood sugar level regularly at home.
Or you may have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see what your average blood sugar level is. This is known as your HbA1c level.
Target blood sugar levels differ for everyone, but generally speaking:
- if you monitor yourself at home with a self-testing kit a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal
- if your HbA1c level is tested every few months a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol
The Diabetes UK website has more about blood sugar levels and testing.
What Is The Hba1c Test
Your HbA1c also known as A1c is a blood test that measures the amount of leftover glucose that have accumulated in your bloodstream during the prior 3 months. The higher your A1c is, the more damage is occurring to your bodys nerve endings and blood vessels in areas like your eyes, your fingers, and toes, and your kidneys.
The higher your blood sugars are each day, the higher your next A1c result will be!
Also Check: How To Check Your Sugar Level
High Blood Sugar Levels In Morning
Many people experience high blood sugar levels in the morning. This can be a cause for concern. However, there are some easy ways to manage it. that high blood sugar levels dont interfere with your day.
The first step is simply to check your daily food intake. Also, make sure youre not consuming high amounts of carbohydrates before bedtime. Theres nothing wrong with eating healthy carbs. However, many people have trouble sleeping if they eat too much late at night. This means that high blood sugar levels will occur early in the morning instead of later on in the day when your body has had time to process them all.
Why Your Blood Sugar Level May Be High
Based on the ADA guidelines above, if your blood sugar is above 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal, it is considered above the normal range. What might cause your glucose or blood sugar to rise? Consider the following factors:
- Consuming more carbohydrates or a larger meal than usual
- Not taking enough insulin or oral diabetes medication based on carbohydrates or activity levels
- Reduced physical activity
Read Also: Hyperglycemic Diet Plan
Recommended Reading: What Does High Sugar Do To Your Body
What Is Normal Blood Glucose
There is no one blood glucose level that defines a person as normal. The table of blood glucose levels below gives the appropriate values at different times and in different states, according to the American Diabetes Association. For example, insulin-dependent diabetics often use an upper limit of 7 mmol/L or 140 mg/dL, while non-insulin-dependent diabetics may aim for less than 6 mmol/L or 108 mg/DL.
The blood glucose levels range between less than 100-180 mg/dL for adults from 20 years or older. Depending on your age this may vary.
- Fasting: Less than 5.6 mmol/L or 100 mg/DL
- Before meal: 3.9-7.2 mmol/L or 70-130 mg/DL
- 1-2 hours after eating: Less than 10 mmol/L or 180 mg/DL
- Bedtime: 5.6-7.8 mmol/L or 100-140 mg/DL
Be aware that the above numbers might be different for everyone depending on your doctorâs recommendations.
You May Like: What Is Signs Of High Blood Sugar
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.
Read Also: How Much Sugar In Protein Bars