Do Blood Sugar Levels Spike or Drop in the Morning?


Quick Answer

Blood sugar levels tend to spike in the morning due to the Somogyi effect or the dawn phenomenon, according to Cleveland Clinic. Diabetics affected by morning sugar level spikes can work with their physicians to determine the cause of the spike and correct it.

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Full Answer

The Somogyi effect, or rebound hyperglycemia, is sometimes caused by the blood dropping too low in the middle of the night, which causes the body to release hormones that cause the spike, advises Cleveland Clinic. This usually happens when the patient takes too much insulin earlier in the day or if the patient did not have an appropriate bedtime snack. Insufficiency of the patient’s long-acting insulin dose taken at bedtime can also cause the Somogyi effect.

The dawn phenomenon occurs as a result of natural changes in the body that occur during sleep, according to Cleveland Clinic. From midnight to 3 a.m., the body has very little need for insulin, but the body starts turning out stored glucose from 3 a.m. to around 8 a.m., which causes a spike in sugar levels.

Correcting either situation involves working with a doctor to change the timing of doses or the type of insulin taken, reports Cleveland Clinic. The patient may need to take extra insulin, eat a lighter meal in the morning and make other modifications.

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