For a lot of people, all they need to get going in the morning is a strong cup of coffee. But for many folks living with diabetes, waking up and starting the day may require a little bit more than just some caffeine.
That is because it isn’t uncommon for people with diabetes to have high blood sugar levels in the morning. Morning hyperglycemia in diabetic individuals is often caused by what is called the “dawn phenomenon,” which occurs when natural insulin secretion decreases overnight or when the effect of insulin injections from the day before disappear.
Coupled with an early-morning physiological increase in insulin-antagonistic hormones like adrenaline that cause the liver to release its store of glycogen (which becomes glucose), the dawn phenomenon can require some steps to lower blood sugar levels before heading out the door.
Another possible, yet less common, cause for high morning blood sugar levels is a condition called the “Somogyi effect,” which occurs because of excessive amounts of insulin taken before bedtime. If the insulin continues to lower blood sugar levels overnight, the body can respond in stress mode by releasing hormones that cause levels to go too high.
Signs That You May Have High Blood Sugar In The Morning
The easiest way to know whether you have high blood sugar levels when you wake up is to check those levels using Continuous Glucose Monitoring. Since you will have fasted for an extended period before you wake up (midnight snacks aside), your blood sugar level is probably too high if it is above 126 mg/dL or 7.0 mmol/L. But your body has plenty of other ways of letting you know that you need to bring those glucose levels down.
Signs that you may be experiencing morning hyperglycemia include:
- Feeling faint or weak
- Blurred vision
- Increased urination
What To Do About Morning High Blood Sugar
As is the case at other times of the day, lowering blood sugar in the morning usually means taking medication.
If you’re taking other medicines for diabetes, ensure that you are taking the right amount at the right time of day. With insulin, you might want to use insulin to lower your blood sugar back to a stable level.
In terms of breakfast, consider eating a low-carb breakfast, so as not to push those blood sugar levels even higher.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring Makes It Easy To Recognize High Blood Sugar In The Morning.
Blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day, including first thing in the morning. The best way to start your day and keep your blood sugar levels in the right zone is to check those levels when you wake up.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a proven, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device that provides real-time glucose readings every few minutes through a tiny sensor underneath the skin. This sensor measures your interstitial glucose level and then sends the data to a pager-like monitor or an app on your smartphone. An alarm will sound if your blood sugar becomes too high or too low.
With easy-to-use features that can help each person proactively record and track glucose levels—as well as provide valuable insights on data that helps manage exercise, meals, and daily health status—CGM is a game-changer for individuals with diabetes.
If you have recently received a diagnosis of diabetes, ask your doctor about CGM and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.