Aside from food, there are other factors that can cause your blood sugar level to rise. Many diabetics have high levels before they eat breakfast…even if their blood sugar was within the normal range at bedtime. There are two special conditions that may raise fasting sugar levels. The first is called the:
Dawn Phenomenon… the dawn phenomenon results from an increase in certain hormones in the body, especially the stress hormone cortisol, beginning at three or four o’clock in the morning. Cortisol increases insulin resistance, often causing a rise in the blood sugar level. The other problem is called the:
Somogyi Effect… this refers to a blood sugar level that rises in the early morning after the diabetic experiences an unrecognized hypoglycemic event during the night-time.
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High morning sugar levels should prompt testing at bedtime, and even testing at 2 or 3AM, just to rule out nocturnal hypoglycemia. Clues to night-time hypoglycemia include:
- restless sleep
- nightmares, or
- awakening soaked in sweat
And it is commonly experienced by diabetics taking long acting insulin and to those who did not have a snack before bedtime.
How To Manage Your Early Morning Blood Sugar Level: Persistent high levels can be a serious problem especially if is not assessed and properly managed. If your early morning level continues to be higher than normal and you are taking medications or insulin, it is important to discuss this with your doctor.
1. Medications: In some people the background insulin requirement varies considerably and it can be hard to match their individual pattern with one or two shots per day. The most common reason for this is the “dawn phenomenon”. In this particular case, if the dose of long-acting insulin were high enough to meet the body’s requirements in the early morning, it would almost certainly be too high later in the day and would cause hypoglycemia. If the dose were lowered to prevent hypoglycemic reactions in the afternoon or early evening, then the morning levels would remain too high.
Switching to an insulin pump, may be recommended by your doctor. The insulin pump can be very beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels because it can be programmed to release additional insulin when the body has an increased need for it.
2. A Bedtime Snack: If you are taking diabetes medications or insulin, an after dinner snack may prevent you experiencing an hypoglycemic episode during the night. Make sure that you choose healthy food items to snack on; opt for foods that have more protein than carbs. Protein digests slowly, decreasing the likelihood of blood sugar spikes.
3. Eat Breakfast: Even with high blood sugar levels in the morning, eating breakfast will actually help your body to counteract the dawn phenomenon, and this will help your blood sugar to return to normal.
4. Exercise: Exercise in the evening can also help to counteract the effect of high blood sugar level in the early morning.
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