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?
Exercise Can Help Lower Morning Blood Glucose Levels
Exercise helps lower blood glucose levels in two ways:
Expert tips about exercise for lowering morning blood glucose levels
Dr Kimberly Cukier recommends trying a gentle 10-minute walk after an evening meal. A morning walk can also help reduce glucose levels in the blood.
What To Do To Improve Insulin Resistance And Reduce Morning Blood Sugars/glucose Levels
There are ways you can do this. So number one and the best option is to do intermittent fasting, eating with portion control, exercising daily at least 30 minutes. If lifestyle changes are very difficult or not effective enough then we start discussing diabetes medications. Metformin or pioglitazone are too commonly prescribed medications for that purpose to defeat insulin resistance.
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How To Lower Blood Sugar In The Morning
As with any time of the day, lowering blood sugar will usually mean taking medication.
If youre taking other medication for diabetes, just make sure youre taking the right amount at the right time of day. With insulin, you might want to use insulin to lower your blood sugar back to a stable level.
To figure out how much insulin you might need, you can let Hedia assist you in your calculations. Tell Hedia what your blood sugar level is, and the insulin calculator will take your basal insulin into account.
If youll be having breakfast soon after waking, youll probably want to include that in your calculation. If you have a favourite breakfast that you eat most mornings, you can add that to your favourites in Hedias food database for a quick add. Find out more by getting Hedia from the App Store or from !
On the topic of breakfast, it may be worth considering a low-carb breakfast, so as not to push those blood sugar levels even higher.
Regardless of what youre eating, Christel Oerum from Diabetes Strong points out the importance of eating any kind of breakfast. Having regular mealtimes that give you the energy that you need throughout the day ought to allow you more stable blood sugar without the adrenaline swings.
What Is The Dawn Phenomenon
Your body uses glucose for energy and it is important to have enough extra energy to be able to wake up in the morning. So for a period of time in the early morning hours, usually between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body starts churning out stored glucose to prepare for the upcoming day.
At the same time, your body releases hormones that reduce your sensitivity to insulin. In addition, these events may be happening while your diabetes medication doses taken the day before are wearing off.
These events cause your body’s blood sugar levels to rise in the morning .
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How Can You Control Your Morning Blood Sugar Levels
Still, if you want to try and control your morning fasting blood sugar level, you should stick to following habits
- Do some moderate-intensity exercise or a brisk walk in the evening
- Have your last meal of the day before 7:30 pm
- Avoid grains in dinner
- Mix 2 tsp of Apple cider vinegar with 20 tsp of water and drink it
- Consume at least 50% greens, including raw and cooked in your dinner
- Climb stairs after dinner
Get Adequate Quantity And Quality Of Sleep
Your mom was right â sleep is important.
So, where do you start?
You can always begin with the fundamentals of sleep hygiene:
- Make sleep a priority
- Cool, dark, quiet environment
- Consistent sleep schedule
- Monitor caffeine intake, particularly within 10-12 hours of sleep
- Adequate early morning light exposure
- Restricted light & screen exposure within 2-3 hours of sleep
Additionally, rather than thinking of sleep as an isolated tool, think of it as a synergistic link. Like a chain of people connected together, each link supports the other.
If your sleep consistency and quality are inadequate, sometimes strengthening the other âlinksâ can indirectly improve them. Weâve already discussed some of these links: nutrition, exercise, and stress management.
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Have A Protein/ Fat Combined Snack
Many people find that a bedtime snack helps lower morning highs.
This is most likely because it shortens the fasting time and may slow down the livers own glucose production. If youre not using the apple cider vinegar method above, try having a mix of protein and fat combined before going to bed.
Here are a few ideas:
- A tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- A small piece of chicken with avocado or 5 olives
- A small handful of macadamia nuts
- A couple of slices of cheese
These are all simple snacks that contain both protein and fat.
What Does High Fasting Glucose Mean
fastingglucosefasting glucose3 tips to lower your blood sugar fast
- Hydrate. The more water you drink, the better.
- Exercise. Exercise is a good way to get better blood sugar control and keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range as a part of your routine diabetes management.
- Eat a protein-packed snack.
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Precautions To Keep The Above Two Conditions In Control
There are a few precautions that you should take under the expert guidance in order to keep the raised levels of fasting blood glucose under control.
The available treatments for controlling the dawn phenomenon include the following:
- Take your medicines as advised by your doctor
- You can take either a green apple or a resistant cornstarch food item just before bedtime under the supervision of a medical expert.
- You can also try to eat a protein snack before These shall include nuts as well as cheese products
- Most of the patients are even advised to take vinegar either in the form of a drink or in the form of a tablet.
The best available treatments for controlling the Somogyi effect include the following:
- Changing the insulin that you use while also trying to alter the time of taking the same
- When you take your dose of insulin in the evening, you should eat a snack along with it
- If you are used to taking insulin just before going to bed, you should try to reduce the total amount of dose that you take
- Monitoring of A1C levels from time to time also go a great deal in keeping the effect under control
How Do You Determine Which of the Two Phenomenons is Adversely Affecting Your Blood Sugar Level?
Diabetic Ketoacidosis: A Complication Of Severe Hyperglycemia In Type 1 Diabetes
In addition to the complications above, severe hyperglycemia in people with type 1 diabetes can lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis, mentioned above. This condition develops when toxic acids called ketones build up in the blood. It can become serious and lead to diabetic coma or even death. According to the American Diabetes Association, ketoacidosis affects people with type 1 diabetes, but it rarely affects people with type 2 diabetes.
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If You Are Taking Levemir During The Morning
Levemir is a long acting insulin that has duration of between 18 and 24 hours.
If you take Levemir in the morning, this can mean that the effects of the insulin can wear off during the night.
This may also be the case, albeit to a lesser extent, if you are on a split dose of Levemir, that is taking an injection during the evening and an additional dose at breakfast.
Identifying The Root Cause
The readings you establish after your three-way glucose check will help you and your health care provider narrow your spikes to any of the three factors that generally trigger a high.
If You Experience a High Just Before You Go to Sleep
If your glucose checks just before you go to sleep reveal that you experience a spike just before you sleep, the biggest culprit is food. The type of diabetes medication you take could also be responsible for the high.
The bottom line is that high blood sugar levels in the night will generally cross over to the morning, and you could ignorantly blame it on the dawn phenomenon when its apparently not the case.
Large foods with lots of carbs or a dinner made of snacks will increase your blood sugar levels and put you in a dangerous zone all night, subsequently increasing your A1C reading. Your diabetes medications dose could also be responsible for a high sugar level just before you sleep without you knowing.
Therefore, you must take just enough insulin to put your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. In that case, even if your blood glucose level experiences an increase during sleep, it wont trigger a lot of concern.
If You Experience a Spike in the Wee Hours of the Morning
If your blood check shows that you suffer a rise in blood glucose levels in the early hours of dawn or between 3 a.m. to 8 a.m., then the dawn phenomenon is likely the more probable cause of your condition.
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Natural Hormone Cycles Increase Blood Sugar Levels
Many hormones are released in a natural daily cycle, or circadian rhythm. This rhythm is responsible for the changes in our body that occur roughly every 24 hours such as our sleep-wake patterns, changes in hunger and body temperature, and when we feel most energised and alert. The early morning rise in blood glucose is part of this normal daily rhythm.
Glucose is used by cells in the body as the main source of energy. By increasing the supply of glucose first thing in the morning, your body becomes prepared for the day ahead.
The morning rise in glucose is caused by increased levels of other hormones in the morning, including cortisol and glucagon. One of the main roles of both cortisol and glucagon is to signal the liver to start turning its stores of glycogen into glucose. This glucose is released into the blood increasing your blood glucose levels.
In most people, this rise in glucose is counteracted by the production of another hormone, insulin, that keeps blood glucose levels in a normal range. This early morning rise then, doesnt cause any problems.
For people with diabetes however, it can be hard to manage this early surge in blood glucose levels. This is because their body cannot produce enough insulin or the body has become resistant to insulin, so blood sugar levels remain high.
Expert tips for identifying normal glucose rhythms
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.
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Normal Blood Sugar Levels Vs Hyperglycemia
If youve been diagnosed with diabetes, your endocrinologist will tell you what your target blood glucose levels are. Your levels may be different from what is usually considered as normal because of age, pregnancy, or other factors. You will be given two target levels, or ranges, one applying to when you haven’t eaten for a number of hours and one for after meals .
This Means Sugar Doesnt Get Taken Up By The Fat Cells
Now in the big picture of things, fat cells are actually not considered big sugar consumers. After alltheyre fat cells. What they do or dont do with THE FAT, is considerably more important. But, it turns out, the wee amounts of glucose being delivered to the fat cells, are important for asprosin.
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How Long Does It Take To Lower Blood Sugar On A Low Carb Diet
Lessons LearnedLow Carb ExperienceHigh Carb ExperienceTake insulin at meal start, after, or not at all.Critical to take insulin before mealsEasier to track boluses one or two unit boluses stop lowering blood glucose in ~2 hoursHarder to track boluses large doses can still be lowering glucose at 4+ hours
High Blood Sugar Symptoms
Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar. Hyperglycemia happens when the body doesnt have enough insulin or when it cant use insulin correctly. Many things can cause high blood glucose levels like Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, stress, illness, or the dawn phenomenon. If you have hyperglycemia or suspect you may have it, talking with a healthcare provider is always a good idea. A doctor can help you determine whats causing your high blood sugar levels and lower it to a healthy range.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that may indicate hyperglycemia:
- Vision loss
You should seek immediate medical attention if your blood sugar reaches 400 mg/dL or higher.
When patients experience any of these accompanied by elevated blood sugar levels, diabetic patients are advised to go directly to the ER to avoid diabetes-induced coma, says Vikram Tarugu, MD, a gastroenterologist and the CEO of Detox of South Florida. Patients who have elevated blood sugar may also present with frothy, ketone-like smelling breath.
Here are some lifestyle changes and medical treatments that can help treat hyperglycemia:
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What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
When you’re 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.
Try Changing Your Exercise Timing
Your body only has two major storage pools for glucose: the muscles and the liver. Late evening exercise â particularly if it is long in duration or high-intensity â can significantly deplete those stores. Combined with inadequate re-fueling, some people can experience hypoglycemia the following morning.
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Understand Cortisol And Its Impact On Blood Glucose
We all live stressful lives, but some of us have a harder time reducing or releasing our stress. That fact may play out in restlessness, poor sleep, insomnia, or feelings of anxiety or constant tension. Cortisol is the stress hormone that mediates the fight or flight physiologic response. And it has a direct bearing on our glucose levels.
Prolonged cortisol stimulation will raise blood glucose levels, notes Dr. Jason Fung, who wrote an entire chapter on the stress hormone in his 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code.8 In it he describes how cortisol, released from the adrenal glands, sends a message to the body to release glucose to prepare for a perceived threat, spurring gluconeogenesis in the liver. In prehistoric times, that surge of glucose energy was usually used up fighting or fleeing from the threat. But in current days, often that stress goes unreleased, the energy not used, which can lead to prolonged higher glucose levels
I, too, discovered the same stress impact, especially with sleep. Since this spring, I am doing yoga in the early evening, focusing on other stress reduction activities and wearing earplugs and an eye shade to help ensure a better night sleep. Doing so drops my FBG back into the normal range the next morning.
Drinking a glass or two of wine at night can lower readings, too, because the liver metabolizes the alcohol first before turning to gluconeogenesis, but I dont want to drink daily.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
Its especially important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia if you have type 1 diabetes. If hyperglycemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, where ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood. This condition is an emergency situation that can lead to coma or death.
Early symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- High blood sugar.
- Unusual fruity smell on the breath.
- Deep labored breathing or hyperventilation.
- Rapid heartbeat.
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