High blood sugar levels in the morning may be due to the Somogyi effect or the dawn phenomenon. This is the result of a combination of natural processes in the body that everyone can control.
What causes high blood sugar in the morning?
Well-known reasons why your blood sugar may be high in the morning include high-carb snacks before bed and not getting enough insulin or anti-diabetic medications.
However, there are two other lesser-known causes that may be causing you morning blood sugar (BSU) problems: the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect . These causes of high blood sugar in the morning are the result of changes in the body and reactions that occur during sleep.
What is the “morning dawn” phenomenon?
Your body uses glucose (sugar) for energy, and it’s important to have enough extra energy to wake you up in the morning. So for some time in the early hours of the morning, usually between 3 and 8 a.m., your body begins to release its stored glucose to prepare for the day ahead.
At the same time, your body releases hormones that decrease your insulin sensitivity. If this occurs against the background of a decrease in the amount of residual insulin in the body, then the SC will increase even more.
Since this increase in glycemia occurs in the morning (at dawn), the effect is called “dawn”.
What is the Somoji effect ?
The second possible cause of high blood sugar in the morning is the Somogyi effect , sometimes also referred to as rebound hyperglycemia. It was named after the doctor who first wrote about it.
The Somoji effect is a protective reaction of the body. If your blood sugar drops too low at night while you sleep, your body will try to escape the danger of hypoglycemia. This is due to the release of contrainsular hormones into the blood , which, in turn, induce the liver to release stored glucose in a larger amount than usual.
Unfortunately, this defense system is not ideal in people with diabetes. The liver secretes more sugar than it needs, which causes blood sugar levels to rise in the morning.
How to understand what caused the increase in blood sugar – the dawn phenomenon or the Somoji effect ?
Your doctor will probably ask you to monitor your blood glucose levels between 2 and 3 am for several nights in a row. If your blood sugar is consistently low during this time, the Somogyi effect can be suspected . If blood sugar levels are normal during this period of time, the dawn phenomenon is most likely the cause.
Remember! Somoji syndrome is an increase in blood glucose in response to missed hypoglycemia. And the “dawn” comes after more or less stable sugars.
Some additional signs of the Somogyi effect include nightmares, restless sleep, and night sweats, as these are all signs of low blood sugar. It can also increase the concentration of ketone bodies in the urine, leading to abdominal pain, sour breath, and nausea. If you suspect the possibility of the Somogyi effect , use visual ketone strips for additional diagnosis.
How can you control your morning blood sugar levels?
Once you determine how your blood sugar behaves at night, you need to consider corrective actions. To make a decision, consult with your endocrinologist.
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To cope with the situation, the doctor may advise the following:
With the phenomenon of “morning dawn”:
• Changing the timing of insulin administration or medication (you can enter basal insulin later, focusing on the peak of its action).
• Transition to a new type of drug.
• If you use insulin, the best solution is to switch to an insulin pump. in which it is easy to program an additional injection of insulin at the time of dawn.
With the Somogyi effect :
• Decreased doses of drugs that cause night falls. The Somogyi effect often occurs against the background of chronic overdose of insulin.
• Planning an evening meal with the addition of a rationed carbohydrate snack before bed.
• Mixing evening sports at an earlier time.
• For insulin pump users, setting a reduced rate basal profile for risk hours.
When detecting high morning blood sugar, do not panic! Find the cause and discuss the issue with your doctor. Try to increase the frequency of self-control, as well as develop a constant “evening regimen”. A certain time for sports and food will help to retain sugar better.
Do not forget about precautions: regularly monitor the quality of the drugs used. Learn why sugars can be high on your last vial of insulin and how to suspect a chronic insulin overdose.