Tag: high morning blood sugars

Oct

22

Morning Highs? What Is The Somogyi Effect?

What Is The Dawn Phenomenon?Ok, so what’s up with this term that people keep throwing around called the dawn phenomenon?  As type 1 diabetics we’ve all been there, up at 1:30 in the morning testing our blood sugars and come back with a perfect reading of 100 mg/dl only to wake up a couple of hours later with a glucose level of 400 mg/dl!  Why is this?  

What’s happening to our bodies during that 2 1/2 hour period that sends sends our blood sugars into the stratosphere!  Welcome to what is called, the dawn phenomenon.  Lets take a closer look at what this is all about and what we can do to try and stabilize our blood sugars. 

What Causes The Dawn Phenomenon:

The body prepares for waking up by secreting several different hormones.  First, between 4:00 and 6:30 a.m. it secretes cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrin.  You may recognize these as they are the hormones involved in the “fight or flight response.”  In this case, their job is more benign, to give you the energy to get up and moving.

Besides giving you a burst of energy, these hormones raise blood sugar.  You aren’t going to be able to make any kind of energetic response if you don’t have fuel, and after a long night’s sleep, the fuel your body turns to in order to get you going is the glucose stored in the liver.

So once these hormones are secreted, typically around 5:30 am, plasma glucose and insulin can start to rise.

Though a non diabetic will automatically get a rise in insulin to help cells use this morning glucose, as type 1’s, we know that’s not always the case and instead of giving our cells a dose of morning energy, all we get is a rise in our blood sugars.

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