Your Blood Sugar Levels May Hit A New High At 3 AM; Know All About This Phenomenon

Your Blood Sugar Levels May Hit A New High At 3 AM; Know All About This Phenomenon
What causes blood sugar levels to rise at 3 am?

Do you wake in the middle of the night because of high blood sugar levels? If yes, then you should know that it could be due to two reasons.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : September 16, 2021 10:35 AM IST

While it is normal for people to wake up in the middle of the night for a late-night snack or washroom, it is different for people with diabetes. For diabetics, morning highs can be baffling! Most individuals with diabetes wake up around 3 in the morning, not because they ate the wrong food last night but because of their blood sugar levels that spike for one of two reasons: the dawn phenomenon or the Somogyi effect.

If you are experiencing slightly high blood sugar or glucose levels in the morning, these two could be the possible reasons behind the spike. Here's everything you need to know.

What Is The Dawn Phenomenon?

This phenomenon is related to natural body changes that occur during the sleep cycle, as a slight rise in blood glucose levels. It is manageable for a person without diabetes, but it can be significant for a diabetic. Hormones such as cortisol and growth hormone tell the liver to increase glucose production, which gives the energy to help you wake up early morning.

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To keep blood glucose levels in balance, this causes beta cells in the pancreas secrete insulin. However, if you have diabetes, you may not produce enough insulin or be insulin resistant, making it difficult to counteract the rise in blood sugar. As a result, when you wake up, your levels may be higher. The dawn phenomena are unaffected by the kind of diabetes. It affects about half of persons with type 1 or types-2 diabetes.

What Is The Somogyi Effect?

Another source of elevated blood sugar in the morning, according to some experts, is the Somogyi effect, or rebound hyperglycemia. Blood sugar levels rise in reaction to hypoglycemia, according to the notion. However, not all specialists agree on this. The Somogyi effect is named after the researcher who found it, Michael Somogyi.

The Somogyi effect, also known as rebound hyperglycemia, is the second cause of elevated blood sugar in the morning. When your blood sugar level dips too low in the middle of the night, the body releases hormones that drive the liver to release stored glucose to stabilise the amount of glucose in the body. In diabetes, however, the liver produces additional glucose, resulting in a high blood sugar level in the morning.

What's The Difference?

It can be confusing to know which one has affected you the Somogyi effect or the dawn phenomenon. The main distinction between the two is the Somogyi effect causes hypoglycemia followed by hyperglycemia.

The best way to know for sure is checking blood sugar levels before bed and after waking up to determine if the spike is because of the Somogyi effect or not. The Somogyi effect is responsible for low blood sugar levels at night. If your blood sugar levels are normal or high, it could be a sign of the dawn phenomenon. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Somogyi effect can happen at any time of day when your blood sugar level is high.

Ways To Manage It

Once you are sure about what is causing a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels, you can manage it by taking proper precautions. Consult your doctor for the best advice to manage the symptoms.