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Why Is My Blood Sugar Always High In The Morning

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What Are Normal And High Morning Blood Sugar Levels

Why is my sugar high in the morning?

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.

How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar

Trying to learn how to lower morning blood sugar? Heres why your glucose levels rise in the morning and a few things you can try to keep them in range.

Waking up with high glucose levels may feel like it doesn’t make sense. You spend several hours asleep, not consuming any carbs, and yet somehow your glucose levels are still high when you wake up in the morning.

Why does this happen? What can you do to make sure your glucose levels are safely in range in the morning? Learn more about some tips on avoiding high morning blood sugar levels so you can start your day off right.

What Is A Good Range For Blood Sugar

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How Much Does Orange Juice Increase Blood Sugar

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

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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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How Are High Blood Sugar Levels Treated

To treat high blood sugar, it helps to know what is causing it. You might need to take more insulin or diabetes pills because you’re growing and eating more food, or you might need to get more exercise each day.

Having high blood sugar levels every once in a while isn’t a big deal. It happens to everyone with diabetes from time to time. But if your blood sugar levels are high a lot, your diabetes health care team will have to help you figure out how to get them back to a healthy level.

Why Do I Need To Know My Blood Sugar Numbers

Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss.

As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change.

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Why Your Blood Sugar Might Be Higher In The Morning

Aside from normal hormonal happenings, some lifestyle factors can affect your nighttime and early morning blood sugar. Eating meals late at night can interfere with your bodyâs usual hormone production schedule and cause unusual morning blood sugar readings.

Skipping meals can have just as much of an effect. Some professionals think the body might produce a rebound effect< sup> 3< /sup> in the early morning when blood sugar is unusually low at night, which can happen if you skip meals late in the day or if you have diabetes and have low insulin at night. This is the Somogyi effect it doesnât seem to be as common as the dawn effect and is likely more common in people with diabetes than without .

What you eat for dinner, regardless of what time you eat, may also have an effect on your morning blood sugar< sup> 4< /sup> . Remember that everyone has unique glucose responses< sup> 5< /sup> to certain foods.

Some other factors that can affect your morning blood glucose reading< sup> 6< /sup> include: drinking alcohol before bed, staying up later than usual, going to sleep with a high stress level, exercising late in the evening if you normally donât, and skipping physical activity if you normally do exercise in the evening.

Pinpointing The Cause For Effective Treatment

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

Its important to understand whats causing your morning hyperglycemia before your doctor can treat you. To pinpoint which of the three reasons is behind your high numbers, check and record your blood glucose before you go to bed, at 3 a.m., and then first thing in the morning. Although it isnt fun to set a middle-of-the-night alarm, continue to do so for a few nights in a row.

If your blood sugar is fairly even when you go to bed and at 3 a.m. but is higher in the morning, you are probably experiencing dawn phenomenon. If your blood sugar is low at 3 a.m., but high in the morning, you probably suffer from the Somogyi effect. If your blood sugar is elevated at 3 a.m. and then higher still in the morning, you probably have waning insulin.

Even if youve identified the reason behind your high morning number, never attempt to correct it on your own. Instead, talk with your doctor. Together, you can find a treatment plan that gets you back on track in the morning.

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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

So Whats Making You High

As diabetics we are constantly striving to maintain a perfect blood glucose level. Having a high fasting reading constantly is a cause for major concern and can definitely affect your hbA1c and by extension your health if not corrected. For 3 or 4 days in a row, plan specific blood glucose testing times. You should also prepare your own meals during this testing period so that you are certain of the carbohydrate content. Try to have your last meal at least 2 hours before bedtime. Check your blood glucose at bedtime, wake up around 3 a.m to test again, and take the final reading at your usual wake-up time. Comparing these results can identify what is the underlying cause of your high blood glucose level in the morning. Sometimes it can also be a combination of issues. The table below is a guideline to follow to assist in identifying the problem. Always seek medical advice from your doctor pertaining to medication dosages and modifications.

Find the Culprit of your Fasting High Blood Glucose Level
Day 3
Day 4

If your 2 hour post dinner time is close to your bedtime there is no need to test again. If it is more than an hour apart include both tests. These are quite a lot of test which will be done over a couple day. Your fingers will be sore but it will lead to discovering your underlying problem.

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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,

What Is The Somogyi Effect

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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.

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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.

  • Test your blood sugar before you sleep.
  • Test your blood sugar in the middle of the night.
  • Test your blood sugar first thing 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.

    First Things First: Youre Doing Awesome

    Many people experience high blood glucose in the morning, just like you! So know, you are not alone. This is normal! And there are ways to fix it. You just need to figure out the root cause of the issue, which is exactly why weve come up with this guide. There are different reasons you can wake up with a high blood sugar, and this guide breaks it down for you.

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    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:Progesterone is a hormone 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 sensitivity. With this, 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.

    Eat Protein In The Morning

    Dawn Phenomenon: High Fasting Blood Sugar Levels On Keto & IF

    To help bring blood sugar levels down, eat something when you get up but make sure its a protein or a balanced protien/fat/veggie breakfast such as a mixed veggie egg scramble.

    If you go and eat loads of carbs for breakfast when your blood glucose is already high, it will only push it up further. The message here is: toast and cereals are often the worst offenders.

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    What Can You Do To Avoid The Dawn Phenomenon

    Since the dawn phenomenon is simply an exaggeration of insulin resistance due to hormones such as growth hormone presence of an already high blood sugar definitely exaggerates the problem. I recommend my patients to avoid carbohydrates at bedtime. I also sometimes adjusted their medications such as their insulin. Patients who are on insulin pumps are easier to manage when it comes to the dawn phenomenon. That is because insulin pumps and allow insulin delivery adjustments hour by hour.

    Also, some insulins are better than others when it comes to long-acting insulin. Sometimes we switch patients to Tresiba or Toujeo. Tresiba and Toujeo are typically longer acting basal insulins compared to Lantus and Levemir. Occasionally I will advise the patient to change the time of the insulin administration. For example, if somebody is taking Levemir in the morning, it may not be lasting an entire 24 hours till the next morning. In this case, taking Levemir in the evening may be an alternative approach to control the dawn phenomenon and morning high blood sugars better.

    Ahmet Ergin, MD, FACE, CDCES, ECNUEndocrinology

    West Palm Beach, Florida

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