Blood sugar levels in the morning can be tricky for people with diabetes to control, but are vitally important to manage well. As you seek to control of morning blood sugars, remember that everyone’s levels vary and you will need to find out the cause of high blood sugars before you can treat them. What works for one person may not work for another and you should discuss this problem with your doctor before making any changes to your management. That said, let’s take a look at the causes of dawn spikes and what you can do to lower them.
Reasons for High Blood Sugar in the Morning
While several things can cause high blood sugar levels in the morning the two main culprits are known as the Dawn Phenomenon and the Smoggy Effect. According to WebMD the Dawn Phenomenon is a combined result of your bedtime insulin wearing off and hormonal changes taking place in your body in the pre-dawn hours. Together, the result is high fasting blood sugar levels. The Somogyi Effect is caused from too much insulin in the evening or an inadequate bedtime snack. The by-product is a dip in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) during the night, which your body tries to correct, ending in high blood sugar levels when you wake up.
It’s imperative to determine your cause in order to fix it. You may have to get up at 3 a.m. several nights in a row to check. Low blood sugar levels at this time can indicate the Somogyi Effect, while normal to high blood sugar levels at this time can indicate the Dawn Phenomenon.
Adjusting insulin and diabetes medication may be what you need to treat either the Dawn Phenomenon or the Somogyi Effect. For starters according to DiabetesDaily switching to a long acting insulin or diabetes medication will help even out the blood sugar level spikes in the early morning caused by the Dawn Phenomenon. If the Somogyi Effect is happening you might be taking too much insulin or diabetes medication before bed and you will need to cut back to prevent hypoglycemia which, ultimately causes morning spikes. For both, an insulin pump may be the answer, as this solution actually allows you to set a precise basal rate for the early morning hours in order to keep blood sugar levels normal.
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High blood sugar levels in the morning can also be a result of what you eat the night before. For some people with diabetes it helps to eat a bedtime snack while for others it does not seem to matter. If eating a bedtime snack does help you, then it is recommended to eat a consistent size snack every night with the same carbohydrate count, and a healthy snack that is low in fat, high in fiber and lower in glycemic index. Fruits, veggies and slower acting carbohydrates are great options.
Remember, with diabetes there are other things that can cause blood sugar levels to spike including stress, not enough sleep, forgetting to take diabetes medications and an inactive lifestyle.
So, in order to help manage morning blood sugars try to limit these items, get plenty of rest and for some, it is even helpful to do low impact exercise before bed.