Morning hyperglycemia is a natural phenomenon that occurs not only in diabetes mellitus but also in healthy people. This is mainly associated with the fact that upon awakening, the body autonomously produces hormones that inhibit insulin and cause the release of glucose¹.
Also, excessively high sugar levels in the morning in diabetics can be caused by poor food choices for dinner, including foods that contain refined carbohydrates. However, many other factors can be participants in this phenomenon. In the material, we will talk about how to quickly lower your blood sugar level in the morning without taking medicine.
High blood sugar levels in the mornings
High blood sugar is significant when it is too high. That’s when it’s called hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is generally defined as above 126 mg / dL or 7.0 mmol / L in a period of fasting (before eating). This will be the clearest sign of high blood sugar in the morning.
Before breakfast, you would typically have had at least eight hours without eating (because you are sleeping). As such, hyperglycemia during a fasting period is significant here – you’ll know that the high blood sugar was not caused by any recent meals.
Other signs of high blood sugar levels in the morning will be the usual symptoms of hyperglycemia:
Feeling faint or weak
Of course, it is normal to feel a little dizzy and thirsty when you wake up. It is essential to distinguish between hyperglycemia and morning tiredness. And the best way to do that is to test your blood sugar level.
A common cause of high blood sugar in the morning is a general excess of carbohydrates in your routine diet. The nutritional recommendations for people with diabetes allow no more than 45-60 g of carbohydrates for each complete meal and no more than 15-20 g of carbohydrates for a snack¹.
We recall that diabetes mellitus implies the control of carbohydrates consumed during the day; in digestion, 100% of carbohydrate products (except fiber) are processed to obtain glucose, directly increasing blood sugar levels.
In addition, high blood sugar levels in the morning can be associated with an excessive decrease in glucose during sleep and other factors such as stress and a sedentary lifestyle. Ultimately, this can stimulate the body to release extra glucose and spike blood sugar upon waking.
Also, excessively high morning sugar can be associated with the wrong dose of insulin or antihyperglycemic medications. If you notice unusual fluctuations in blood sugar levels (and dangerously high levels), see your doctor. Do not make changes in medications without the authorization of a specialist.
High morning sugar: the Somoji phenomenon
Chronic insulin overdose syndrome (Somoji phenomenon) was documented in 1959 by the American scientist Michael Somoji. The conclusion is that excessive insulin leads first to hypoglycemia and then to an increased response in plasma glucose³.
Since blood sugar levels can drop during sleep, this can lead to the release of adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones, which trigger the release of glucose from the liver, which increases morning sugar. Remember that the Somoji phenomenon manifests itself more frequently in type 1 diabetes.
Another natural phenomenon similar to the Somoji phenomenon (but fundamentally different from it) is the Dawn phenomenon: an increase in glucose levels upon waking, associated with preparing the body for the day. This is where hormones (like adrenaline) are released early morning. In turn, hormones cause the liver to release its glycogen store (which is converted to glucose), thus raising blood sugar levels.
It is not known exactly why this happens, but these hormones are generally released to provide additional energy. So the theory is that the body releases extra glucose to give you extra energy to wake you up and start your day. It is estimated that up to 50% of people with type 2 diabetes experience this condition. 2
How to lower your sugar in the morning?
How we saw the most common cause of excessively high blood sugar levels in the morning is usually the excessive consumption of carbohydrates at dinner; therefore the key point to avoiding this problem is to ensure that you control the carbohydrate portions of your meals and ensure that they contain enough fiber. Fiber will help you stay full longer and help keep your blood glucose levels stable.
Also, dinner should contain a moderate amount of fat; excess fat can delay the rise in glucose levels from carbohydrate foods, displacing it at night and in the morning. Even more so if these are saturated animal fats instead of unsaturated from vegetable oils.
The second most important factor is exercising regularly. Research shows¹ that exercising just before breakfast helps the body better control blood sugar, reducing the tendency to spike glucose before starting your day. A short walk or a yoga exercise is sufficient.
More tips for lowering blood sugar in the morning if you have diabetes:
- Choose foods with a low glycemic index
The glycemic index measures how we absorb or digest food, which affects the rate at which blood sugar levels rise. Eating low-glycemic foods has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. 4 Examples of foods with a low to moderate glycemic index are: bulgur, oatmeal, yogurt, legumes, durum wheat pasta, non-starchy vegetables.
- Manage your stress levels
Stress can affect your blood sugar levels in the morning. During stress episodes, hormones such as glucagon and cortisol are secreted. These hormones cause blood sugar levels to rise. Relaxation exercises and methods such as yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction can also help correct insulin secretion problems in chronic diabetes.
- Stay hydrated
An action as simple as drinking enough water can help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits. In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps the kidneys eliminate excess sugar through the urine.
Several studies have shown that those who drink more water have a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels. Keep in mind that water and other non-caloric drinks are best, except in the morning on an empty stomach. Sugar-sweetened beverages raise blood glucose, gain weight, and increase the risk of diabetes.
- Eat foods rich in chromium and magnesium.
High blood sugar levels and diabetes have also been linked to micronutrient deficiencies. Examples include deficiencies in the minerals chromium and magnesium.
Chromium participates in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. Lack of chromium can predispose you to carbohydrate intolerance. Magnesium benefits blood sugar levels, while magnesium deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes.
While the mechanisms behind this are not fully understood, securing sources of these foods is not going to be bad for your health and may help regulate your morning sugar levels.
Foods rich in chromium and magnesium:
- whole grains
- leafy greens
- dark chocolate
Other tips for reducing sugar when you wake up
If you know that the phenomenon of Dawn, or dawn affects you, try:
- Have dinner earlier in the evening.
- Do something active after dinner, like going for a walk.
- Check with your healthcare provider about the medicine you are taking.
- Eat breakfast. It helps bring your blood sugar level back to normal, signaling to your body that it’s time to get your anti-insulin hormones under control.
- Eat a snack with some carbohydrates and protein before bed.
You’ll also want to avoid all sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, fruit punch, fruit drinks, and sweet tea. A single serving can raise your blood sugar level and, in some cases, provide hundreds of additional calories.
If you notice an unusual spike in your blood sugar in the morning, it’s a good idea to take an additional measurement at night, ideally around 2 or 3 a.m. M. Based on your blood sugar results, your doctor may recommend what to do – depending on whether abnormally high or low values are found.
High sugar values in the morning can be caused not only by an excessive and frequent amount of carbohydrate foods in your diet, but also by insufficient nutrients, lack of exercise, stress, poor sleep, medications, among other factors.