March 22


High Morning Blood Sugar: Why It Happens and How to Fix It

By Gabriela

March 22, 2018

There are many possible reasons why our blood sugar is high in the morning. One of them might be hyperglycemia. When

low blood sugar triggers the liver to get rid of the sugar and transfer it to the blood, it tries to stabilize the blood sugar levels.

Another reason for having extremely high morning blood sugar could be the Dawn Phenomenon.

This phenomenon is a natural increase in blood sugar levels that occurs due to a surge of hormones the body secretes in the middle of the night.

In addition, it triggers the liver to get rid of the sugar and transfer it to the blood to help prepare the body for the following day.

High Morning Blood Sugar

To make sure what is affecting the blood sugar levels in the morning, it is important to locate the source of the problem. In other words, we need to have a small strategy to diagnose the source properly.

To do it here is what we should do:

  • Test the blood sugar before we go to sleep.
  • Repeat the same procedure in the middle of the night.
  • Once again, test the blood sugar immediately after we wake up in the morning.

It may seem time-consuming, but we recommend doing it only a few times to see what is affecting our blood sugar levels.

The Dawn Phenomenon and Hyperglycemia

According to the Journal of Endocrinology, hyperglycemia is less common than the Dawn Phenomenon.

But, to properly diagnose either of these health problems, researchers suggest that people check their blood sugar levels a few times in the middle of the night.

They believe that the best time is between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Another option can be the CGM or continuous glucose monitoring system. It allows the user to observe the blood glucose activity during the night.

But, to obtain the CGM, it is best to consult with a doctor or medical practitioner.

How to Stabilize the Blood Sugar Levels in the Morning?

The Dawn Phenomenon happens when the body excretes a surge of hormones in the morning. These hormones increase in the middle of the night at the same time every night when it is time to prepare the body to wake up.

In other words, the body is starting its engine and prepares it to work. Moreover, this phenomenon can happen in every human, regardless of whether they have or don’t have diabetes.

However, for those with this chronic condition, this phenomenon may prove problematic. It affects their blood sugar levels. Therefore, it also has a huge impact on the natural insulin response.

According to the ADA, this phenomenon affects about 50% of those with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers claim that for the people who depend on insulin and have to deal with Dawn Phenomenon, this sudden hormone surge, can prove extremely difficult.

In addition, the phenomenon occurs as a result of the sudden surge of hormone secretion in the middle of the night. Other hormones that are also secreted in the body are adrenaline, cortisol, and glucagon.

These hormones can also affect the liver and force the conversion of its glycogen stores into glucose. This glucose is then dumped into the blood during a process known as glycogenolysis.

Tips to Stabilize the Blood Sugar Levels

There are a few things we can do to treat the effects of the Dawn Phenomenon:

  • Not consuming carbohydrates before we go to bed.
  • Trying to adjust our dose of insulin or medications (for this step we should consult with a doctor to know what exactly we need to do with our dose)
  • Switching medications (consult with a doctor before taking this step)
  • Adjusting the time appropriately when we take insulin or medication from dinner to bedtime.
  • Using an insulin pump to get more insulin in the morning.

Many people are extremely concerned with the dawn phenomenon. But, if we only experience a sudden, temporary increase in blood sugar levels in the morning, it is probably nothing we should worry about.

But, if we always get extremely high blood sugar levels every morning, we should definitely consult with a doctor first, before we implement any changes in our schedule, diet, or medications.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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