High Blood Sugar In The Morning? Explanation + 5 Healthy Tips

Signs & Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes

High Blood Sugar In The Morning Explanation + 5 Healthy Tips

High blood sugar in the morning can come as a shock.

You did nothing wrong the night before, and yet your fasting blood sugar is higher than your non-fasting blood sugar. How is this possible?

In this article, I'll explain everything including what the so-called "dawn phenomenon" (or dawn effect) is. I'll also be giving you 5 tips on how to improve your blood sugar levels.


High blood sugar in the morning? Here's why

High blood sugar levels in the morning can have several causes. Although nutrition and your medication are certainly possible explanations...

... 9 times out of 10, something completely different is going on.

This "9 out of 10 times" phenomenon explains why your blood sugar level is high after getting up. This level is often higher than it was BEFORE you went to bed.

And that's odd.

Because how can your blood sugar level rise if you haven't eaten anything in your sleep?

Of course, it could theoretically be caused by what you ate for dinner before going to bed. So you should have seen it.

Purpose of this article

The explanation for this is the dawn phenomenon, also called the dawn effect. There's no real way to recognize the effect beforehand, and the only way to find out whether you have it is by measuring your blood sugar in the morning.

What is the dawn phenomenon in type 2 diabetes?

The dawn phenomenon occurs in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Researchers think that 25 to 50% of type 1 patients suffer from it.

To explain what this phenomenon is, we need to look first at the liver:

The liver

The liver has various functions. Although it mainly cleanses your body of toxins, your liver also plays a supporting role in your body's energy supply.

Excess sugars are stored In your liver as glycogen. Your body uses glycogen when it is unable to get the sugar it needs from your bloodstream.

The glycogen is converted to glucose, which resupplies your body with energy. This mainly happens when you're exercising.

Of course, your body also needs energy when you're asleep. And since you don't eat during your 6 to 8 hours of sleep, the energy must come from somewhere. In this case, 'somewhere' is your liver.

Your liver converts the glycogen into glucose so that your body (especially your brain) can get the energy it needs. This process is called homeostasis and involves so-called counter-regulatory hormones.

Counter-regulatory hormones

High blood sugar in the morning occurs when your liver produces the 3 counter-regulatory hormones in your sleep. This mixture of hormones comprises:

Glucagon, adrenaline, and cortisol

Together, they lower the effects of insulin: they make you insensitive to insulin and, at the same time, release more sugars from your liver.

This is why your fasting blood sugar levels rise at night. It goes without saying that you cannot treat this effect. It is a natural phenomenon of the human body. Healthy people experience it as well. 

It is an evolutionary mechanism by which your body can always provide itself with energy. Even when you are in Dreamland. Although your body means well, it can still have you waking up every morning worrying about your high blood sugar level every morning.

Dawn Effect causes high blood sugar in the morning

Could it be the Somogyi effect?

The so-called Somogyi effect also causes high blood sugar levels in the morning, but for a very different reason. This effect occurs when you become hypoglycemic in your sleep.

It gives you a scare and releases a lot of sugar from the liver to resolve the hypoglycemia (or 'hypo' as it's commonly called). You can recognize the Somogyi not only because you wake up with high blood sugar levels, but also because you'll often feel tired, have a headache, and your pillow will be damp with sweat.

Are high blood sugar levels in the morning dangerous?

Technically, the dawn phenomenon isn't a problem. It's quite normal for healthy people to experience it as well. HOWEVER, it is not healthy to have extremely high blood sugar levels in the morning.

When you experience super high blood sugar levels in the morning, do they ever get significantly lower throughout the day? If that is the case, then 95% of your eating habits are to blame for your high sugar levels.

If your insulin sensitivity is already bad, and your diet is less than optimal, you will go to bed with a relatively high blood sugar level and the counter-regulatory hormones will have an even stronger effect on your body. This explains why your blood sugar level is (very) high in the morning.

With a healthy diabetes diet, you can improve your dawn phenomenon. In fact, if you are willing to adjust your diet, it is possible to completely reverse your type 2 diabetes .

How a healthy diabetes diet will help you lower your high morning blood sugar levels

It may be hard to believe, but in around 95% of cases, type 2 diabetes is due to an unhealthy diet.

And this eating pattern also contributes to high blood sugar levels in the morning. To treat and possibly cure the dawn phenomenon, it is wise to adjust your diet.

Below, I've given you 5 simple tips that will show you how to make significant progress in your eating habits.

#1 Avoid unhealthy sugary drinks

I generally believe in freedom of choice, which is why I would rarely want to ban anything.

However, I make a special exception for one category of food that has no added value whatsoever to your eating pattern. In fact, it has only disadvantages. And that category is sugary drinks.

The biggest culprits are:

  • Soft drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Drinking yogurts
  • Iced tea
  • Sweet alcoholic drinks

These drinks are a nuclear bomb on your pancreas.

Because they are low in fibers, the sugar enters your bloodstream way too fast.

Because of this, your pancreas has to work overtime to make enough insulin.

It is, therefore best to NEVER drink these sugar-rich drinks.

Don't panic! There are plenty of equally tasty sugar-free drinks available. Find out more about different sugar-free drinks here.

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#2 Avoid unhealthy carbohydrates

Many people who visit our website think (unfortunately) that avoiding carbs is healthy and good.

Of course, your blood sugar will improve enormously if you don't eat pasta, pizza, and fries...

...but that does NOT mean all carbs are equally unhealthy.

The amount of sugar and carbs in a product don't mean anything. Fruit can contain a lot of sugar. But because it also contains fiber, it's a lot healthier than a white bun.

After leaving sugary drinks alone, the best thing you can do is to avoid unhealthy carbohydrate sources.

Pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, pizza, and other pastry are particularly unhealthy.

  • You can replace white bread with low carbohydrate bread. But oatmeal is also good
  • You can replace pastry with fruit
  • You can replace pasta and rice with beans and/or vegetables
  • You can replace desserts with natural yogurt and cottage cheese, or fruit.

#3 Choose healthy vegetables

As I mentioned earlier:

Carbs are not the problem. The problem is Unhealthy carbs.

The best way to get healthy carbs is to eat healthy vegetables.

And to be honest, all vegetables are healthy... except sweet potatoes.

Other than that you can pretty much eat everything you want in terms of vegetables. But, just because you can eat everything, it doesnot mean that everything is equally healthy.

My favorite vegetables are:

  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

These are also the healthiest vegetables you can eat. This is because they are high in fiber, relatively low in carbs, and high in antioxidants. Ideal if you want to prevent and cure type 2 diabetes.

#4 Eat more healthy fats

Many people think that fats are unhealthy. Fats are also strongly discouraged for type 2 diabetes.

But no one has ever developed type 2 diabetes by eating only healthy fats. Research even shows that fats do NOT have a negative effect on your blood sugar level.

In fact, if you eat carbs in combination with fats, your blood sugar levels will rise even less rapidly.

One of the first things people do in our Diabetes Reversing Method course is to eating more healthy fats. And once they do this, they notice that:

  • Their blood sugar level goes down
  • They are more satiated
  • The food tastes better

All in all, three very good reasons to eat more healthy fats.

But which products contain these healthy fats? That's a good question!

For healthy fats, consider:

Sources for healthy fats

  • 48+ cheese
  • Nuts - spread peanut butter on your bread
  • Whole dairy products (without flavors)
  • Use more olive oil and butter
  • Fatty fish
  • Greasiest piece of meat from an animal (avoid lean meat)

The fatter you can eat, the better.

Of course, you must avoid unhealthy sources of fat such as mayonnaise and sunflower oil. When I talk about eating fat, I'm talking about products that occur naturally in nature. And not about products that must be made in a factory.

#5 Choose the right snacks

Personally, I'm not a big snacks' fan.

That said, I don't have anything against them either.

But the problem with snacks is the distinct lack of healthy choices. So you inevitably end up with cookies, chips, candy, or any other sweet products that don't satisfy you...

... but do bump up your blood sugar. 
Especially in the evening. And that is, of course, not good if you want to prevent high blood sugar levels in the morning.

That's why it's better to stick to these snacks:

  • Nuts (such as walnuts, cashews, or peanuts)
  • Avocados
  • Vegetables (a piece of cucumber, snack tomatoes or sweet peppers)
  • Fruit
  • Cheese
  • Meat

There has to be a difference

Although the things mentioned above are obviously not as tasty as chocolate-chip cookies or anything else that makes your blood sugar level rise...

... hey will help you to reverse your type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes-Free Secret
Adopting a healthier lifestyle will not only help you get your high morning blood sugar levels down but it'll also enable you to completely overhaul your diabetes.

It has recently been discovered that it is possible to reverse type 2 diabetes. Everything you need to do this can be found in your local grocery store.

You can reverse type 2 with one powerful principle. It's something I call "The Diabetes-Free Secret."  I have written a number of pages about this secret that will change your life forever. You will learn:

  • Why you got type 2 diabetes
  • What mechanism you can use to reverse diabetes
  • The best tips to be diabetes-free within a few weeks

Enter your e-mail address below, and I will send you the E-book for free.


Ben Kuiper

PS: Is your blood sugar level high in the morning? What do you do about it? Leave a comment below

About the Author

Ben Kuiper is a pharmacist and an expert in the field of type 2 diabetes.

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