Morning Blood Sugar – The Dawn Phenomenon

Posted on February 21, 2011


Testing the blood glucose level yourself

Image via Wikipedia

If you are diabetic you may have noticed that first thing in the morning your fasting blood sugar is the most difficult blood sugar to control. What I have found is that this is especially true if you eat the same thing for breakfast as you do for lunch or dinner. When you do this you may find that your BS-levels are higher when you test after breakfast than you may see after other meals. Morning BS-levels may be difficult to control due to what is known as the dawn phenomenon.

When you wake your body prepares itself for the process by secreting a variety of different hormones. Normally, between the hours of 4:00 and 6:30 a.m. it will begin secreting epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. The purpose of these hormones is to give your body energy to move and get up. Unfortunately, as well as giving you the get up and go you need, these hormones also raise blood sugar.

Immediately after these hormones are secreted your body starts to release plasma glucose and, in a healthy person, your insulin levels begin to rise. In a healthy person the rise in insulin allows cells to use the morning glucose and create energy. However, people who have diabetes don’t process the glucose properly and instead of receiving a dose of energy the glucose stays in the blood, raising blood sugar levels.

So, how can you reduce your morning BS-levels? The best answer is to bring down the post-meal blood sugars. If your beta cells don’t spend four or five hours trying to bring down post meal high blood sugar, they may be able to produce enough basal insulin to lower fasting blood sugars.

Some people have found that an easy way to reduce their fasting blood sugar is by eating a small snack before bed or by having a protein snack, which is typically thought to be a “slow release carbohydrate” since nearly 60 percent of protein converts into a carbohydrate over a seven hour period. I have also found that having a few crackers or a pretzels helps with lowering morning BS-levels.

Another way to lower BS-levels, especially in the morning, is to add ½ tsp. of cinnamon to your diet. Cinnamon has been proven to be an efficient way of lowering and regulating blood glucose levels. Although I would love to tell you that you can simply take some out of your kitchen cupboard and add it to your coffee it unfortunately doesn’t work quite that way. The cinnamon we can purchase at our local grocer is typically too old to be effective in lowering our blood sugar.

Julia L Hanf is a proud contributing author and writes articles about type 2 diabetes. A few years ago through a near tragedy with her husband, Julia was able to discover ways to prevent, treat and reverse diabetes. Reversing diabetes requires difficult choices but in the long run will benefit you for the rest of your life.

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