Why is my blood sugar high in the morning – conditions and causes

Why is my blood sugar high in the morning?

Now that you have started testing your blood sugar you’ve probably noticed and are asking yourself why is my blood sugar high in the morning. This is known as the dawn phenomenon or the Somogyi effect (although there could be other factors) these are the most common. It happens with everybody just more so with diabetics.

Let’s take a look at the differences between the two and other possible reasons for this condition. We can also talk about possible ways to control this effect in the mornings.


What is known as the Dawn Phenomenon

This is a natural process that your body does every morning to get it ready for the day whether you have diabetes or not, it ramps up the blood sugar (Glucose) to provide the energy for the body to get started. Every morning somewhere around 2:00 A.M. and ends somewhere around 8:00 A.M. the Liver starts to break down Glycogen which is a stored form of glucose.

The Liver does this because it has received a signal from a hormone released by the Pancreas called Glucagon and for people with type 2 diabetes this causes a real problem, because you are already resistant to insulin, these hormones drive your fasting blood sugar up over what is expected to be normal which is anywhere from 90-110 mg/dl.

This is why it is wise to keep track of your fasting levels by using a Glucose log sheet that way you can watch trends. For myself this is most the important time after you have determined what your daily meal plans should be through testing.

Suggestions for combating this cause

  • Try moving up your dinner time during the day so that your body can go through its digestion cycle sooner.
  • Doing some lite exercises before going to bed can help plus it could help you sleep better.
  • I like to eat a light breakfast one with protein and healthy fats which is at 5:00A.M. for me this will also help regulate your levels throughout the day. AVOID pastries as much as we love them the morning time is the worst time to consume them.
  • Consulting your doctor about changing up your medication or switching when you take them.

Now for the Somogyi effect

The Somogyi effect also known as rebound hyperglycemia was named after a doctor named Michael Somogyi. He was the first doctor to give an insulin treatment to a child. Based on his observation during his practice he theorized that hypoglycemia could cause hyperglycemia, which in essences is the rebound.

This effect is usually linked with diabetics on an insulin injection program, There is a good chance that at nighttime they are over dosing insulin. The best way to check and to see if this is what s going on is to (this is the bad part) check your blood sugar levels at 3:00 A.M. for at least for 2 nites in a row.

However, there are some other possible causes which include

  • Eating fewer than normal carbohydrates at dinner or before bed time than you normally would.
  • Consuming too much alcohol while on an empty stomach, This you should be cutting back on anyhow because it is loaded with sugar.
  • Extra or usually high activities during the day, like maybe a long hike or long day at the beach paying games with friends like volleyball or football.
  • The way you administer your insulin injections could also cause this.

This aspect of morning highs has not been scientifically tested but doctors do feel that higher than needed insulin injection can contribute to the cause. If you find that insulin is the cause you should speak with your doctor.

Suggestions for combating this cause

  • First consult your doctor about your insulin or medication to make sure you are getting the right dose.
  • Maybe include a bedtime snack that includes carbs to give your body something to work on while you sleep.
  • If you do exercises in the evening maybe move them to an earlier time. Exercise makes the cells in your body more sensitive to insulin therefore lowering you available sugar in the blood stream.
  • Changing the time you take your medication might also help.

Final thoughts

Yep there you have it. I hope that this help explain this interesting cycle that your body goes through every morning. When I first came across this I had no idea what was happening. But once I figured it out I searched for a way to deal with it. there had to be a way right?

Well there are some different ways as pointed out above good thing because not everybody s body reacts the same way.so why not try out some of these solutions maybe one will fit just right.


Leave a comment below if you like. As always have a great day.








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4 Thoughts to “Why is my blood sugar high in the morning – conditions and causes”

  1. Rob

    Hey Mark, I know all too well about type 2 diabetes. And it’s true that the morning sugars are always going to be higher but they don’t have to be. Every diabetic should be keeping track of their blood sugars because it’s just that important. You’ve got some great tips on getting that blood sugar reading down in the morning. Once you know what to do, it should help your numbers. My question is: What’s the best way to keep your blood sugars at a normal reading most of the time?

    1. Hi Rob I find for myself that a breakfast consisting of grass fed eggs and uncured no nitrate added bacon lowers my A1c by almost a an entire point without any other changes.

  2. Tim

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for a the informative article – especially the practical tips. I appreciate the research you put in here. Invaluable!

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