Learn what happens to your blood sugar levels overnight and how you can keep them in check!
After a diabetes diagnosis, there is usually a time of education. You learn all about the disease and how it affects your body. Part of that learning curve is discovering when your blood sugar levels tend to be high or low. You might also quickly learn that, for someone with diabetes, the early morning hours can be an important time of the day.
What Happens to Your Body Overnight
For many with diabetes, they may take insulin but still wake up with high blood sugar levels. This is caused by one of two things. The first is called the “dawn phenomenon.” As you sleep, your body goes through a series of changes. One includes increasing the amounts of the hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, that fight insulin’s job of lowering your blood sugar levels. This typically happens between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. These hormones enter your blood system right when your bedtime dose of insulin is wearing off, thus leading to high glucose levels.
The “Somogyi effect” is a bit different. Also referred to as “rebound hyperglycemia,” the term refers to a pattern in the body. This includes an episode of low blood sugar – hypoglycemia – followed by high morning sugars. In the middle of the night, your blood sugar levels can drop low enough that your body releases hormones to raise it. This might happen if you took too much insulin earlier in the evening or perhaps if you didn’t eat enough of a snack before bedtime.
How to Know Which One You Have
Though both result in high blood sugar levels in the morning, your doctor will need to know which is causing the increased levels. To determine the cause, a physician will typically have you check your levels for a few nights in a row, usually between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. If your blood sugar is consistently low at that time, the Somogyi effect is, well, likely in effect. But, if at that time, your levels are normal or high, your doctor will likely assign blame to the dawn phenomenon.
What You Can Do About It
Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can impact the way your blood sugar levels act during the night. You might need to:
- Avoid carbohydrates before bedtime.
- Adjust when you take your evening dose of insulin.
- Take long-acting insulin before bed so it works at its peak right when your blood sugars go on the rise.
- Take extra insulin overnight if needed.
- Use an insulin pump that’s programmed to release medication when you need it during the early hours of the morning. CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) pumps work very well at controlling levels since they continually regulate insulin.
How We Can Help
As you continue to learn more about diabetes, and more specifically, diabetes’ effect on YOUR body, you’ll understandably have questions. Let the trained experts at Focus Express Mail Pharmacy help. We have over 50 years of combined experience helping people with diabetes live life to the fullest by providing diabetes supplies and insulin pumps conveniently and for little or no cost. Check us out at www.FocusPharmacy.com or call toll-free 1-866-403-6287.