Some people living with diabetes struggle with the morning phenomenon (AKA – high blood sugars in the morning). This can be confusing as we don’t expect our sugars to rise when we are sleeping and not eating.
There are a couple of different causes of the morning phenomenon, so here is everything you need to know, as well as how you can help to prevent it!
In the morning the body secretes cortisol and growth hormone. Both hormones cause blood sugar levels to rise to give us enough energy to wake up. Of course people living with diabetes either cannot make insulin, or have insulin resistance. Therefore too much sugar remains in the blood.
Morning spikes can cause fatigue as it interrupts energy delivery, so it is something we really want to prevent.
The best way to combat this is to look at your basal insulin. Take a look at your dose with your doctor and they can help to recommend a different dose, or perhaps a better time to take your basal insulin.
Another cause of the morning phenomenon is not having enough insulin in your blood to last the whole night. Of course this will result with higher sugar levels.
Again, taking a look at your basal insulin is the best place to start. If you take your basal in the morning it may not last until the following morning. You and your team may decide to increase your basal dose, or even consider basal splitting. This is when you take the basal in divided doses so you have enough background insulin 24/7.
The Somogyi effect
The Somogyi effect is when a low blood sugar in the night causes a rebound high blood sugar. The body is overcompensating for the low blood sugar, and releases too much sugar into the blood.
The best way to prevent the Somogyi effect is to prevent the hypo in the first place. So make sure you eat enough carbs with your evening meal and try to limit exercise late at night. Always check your sugars before going to sleep, and I advise having a snack if you are below 5.0mmol/L.
My final tip is to have a portioned hypo snack by your bedside. This will prevent you over-treating a hypo during the night.
Thank you for reading the Morning Phenomenon, I hope this was useful! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!