3 Steps to Lower Your Morning Blood Sugar

3 Steps to Lower Your Morning Blood Sugar

If you're diabetic, you can relate to the blood sugar roller coaster that causes your readings to fluctuate. Have you awoken in the morning, only to find that your readings are abnormally high? If so, you're not alone — here are three ways to potentially combat morning highs.

1. Eat a nutrient-rich breakfast

If you are suffering from the "dawn phenomenon," your blood sugar will generally rise between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. This is your body's natural way of preparing for the day — increasing hormone levels, such as cortisol and adrenaline. As hormone levels rise, blood sugar rises to use as energy.

To counteract this effect:

  • Eat a nutritious breakfast to lower cortisol levels, decreasing the release of glycogen. Until you consume nutrients, cortisol levels will remain high, significantly affecting your blood sugar.
  • Focus on breakfast items such as steel-cut oats with unsweetened almond milk, eggs, Greek yogurt, smoothies (made with 75 percent or more low-glycemic vegetables) and nut butter on whole-grain toast.

2. Check your pre-bedtime glucose levels

Although the dawn effect is often to blame, there's another phenomenon known as the Somogyi effect. Overnight, your blood sugar drops, and to counteract hypoglycemia, your body releases hormones that increase glucose levels.

To counteract this effect:

  • Consume a protein-rich snack before bed, as well as a complex carbohydrate. Some great options include yogurt with 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, cottage cheese with 1/2 cup pineapple or a banana with nuts.
  • If you awake around 2 to 3 a.m., test your blood glucose and record it. Maintaining a blood sugar and diet journal is a great way for your doctor to reassess your changing needs.

3. Understand waning insulin

In this case, you may take insulin in the evening, and by the time you awake, you experience elevated readings. Whereas the other two causes are largely based on hormones, this is a much simpler explanation.

To counteract this effect:

  • Speak to your doctor immediately regarding your insulin regimen in terms of dosing and scheduling. It's possible that if you're taking insulin around 6 p.m., it's simply wearing off during the early hours. Taking insulin around 10 p.m. may be more effective.

In order to narrow down the cause of your morning highs, you will need to consistently check your blood glucose levels before bed, around 3 a.m. and then when you awake to begin your day.

  • If your blood glucose is fairly normal before bed and around 3 a.m. but it increases in the morning, you're likely experiencing the dawn phenomenon.
  • If you check at 3 a.m. and your blood glucose is low, this is more than likely due to the Somogyi effect.
  • If your blood glucose levels are higher at 3 a.m. than they were at bedtime, you may be experiencing issues with your insulin.

If morning highs continue, please speak with your doctor. Once you find the direct cause, you can better manage your fasting glucose levels.

Sources:

http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2008/sep/rocky-morning-highs.html

http://easacademy.org/trainer-resources/article/why-breakfast-is-the-most-important-meal-of-the-day-eas-academy

https://www.diabeteshealth.com/why-are-my-morning-sugars-over-300/

About the Author:

Krista Hillis is an experienced freelance writer who has a degree in psychology and neuroscience. Although she is still active in her research, she now focuses on all aspects of positive health -- both mental and physical.