Why Blood Sugar Levels Highest in the Morning?


Quick Answer

Known as the dawn phenomenon, the body releases various hormones between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m., which in turn causes blood sugar levels to rise as bedtime insulin resources are depleted, according to WebMD. The hormones cause blood sugar to rise while insulin works to keep them low.

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Full Answer

Another reason for morning blood sugar levels to be higher than normal is the Somogyi effect, also known as rebound hyperglycemia, states WebMD. The Somogyi effect occurs in diabetics who experience drops in blood sugar during the middle of the night, triggering a release of hormones to elevate blood sugar levels. This usually happens if a patient takes too much insulin before going to bed or did not have a sufficient snack before sleeping. The Somogyi effect produces virtually identical results to the dawn phenomenon but has "man-made" causes.

To determine the cause of abnormally high morning blood sugar levels, Everyday Health suggests waking up at 3 a.m. to check. Although inconvenient, this is the easiest way. Low blood sugar indicates the Somyogi effect while consistent blood sugar that rises after 3 a.m. suggests the dawn phenomenon.

To treat this, modifications in diet or insulin may be needed, states Everyday Health. Introducing regular exercise can also help manage blood sugar levels.

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