Dawn Phenonmenon

By jsd2005 Latest Reply 2009-03-27 09:31:26 -0500
Started 2009-03-25 19:51:34 -0500

The Dawn effect, also called the Dawn Phenomenon is the term used to describe an abnormal early morning increase in blood sugar. (usually between 4a.m. and 8a.m.) in people with diabetes. This phenomenon is more common in people with type 1 diabetes than those with type 2 diabetes.

The exact cause is not known. Some researchers believe it's due to the natural overnight release of hormones. Such as cortisol, epinephrine, and glucagon, which normally increase insulin resistance.

High morning or a.m. sugars may also have a myriad of other reasons. Such as insufficient insulin the night before. a bigger meal than planned, carbohydrate snacks at bedtime. Checking your sugars through the night may provide some insight into what the issue may be.

Based on your nighttime log,or insulin log, you and your Dr. may decide on several factors. to increase your p.m. insulin dose, change your snacks or not eating a bedtime snack, changing medications.

It's difficult to say as everyone is affected so differently. A log is the best bet as it will provide ideas as to what you can do.

Good luck and don't give up!

8 replies

kdroberts 2009-03-27 07:58:43 -0500 Report

The dawn phenomenon happens to every single human on the planet, diabetic or not. The difference being is that in people without diabetes their body takes care of it and it doesn't turn into a problem. In people with diabetes it may be that there is no insulin to take care of the glucose or insulin resistance is at it's highest and cells are not using the extra glucose. All people get a small release of glucose throughout the night to keep vital functions ticking over, your brain needs glucose to work and if you don't eat for hours it will eventually starve for instance. All people also get the hormone release in the early morning to signal the body to start waking up. Unfortunately the side effects of many of the hormones is an eventual glucagon release and sugar release from the liver.

It also seem to me, no scientific evidence just anecdotal, that the dawn phenomenon causing high morning numbers is more common in type 2's and the Somogyi effect (reactive hyperglyemia) causes more high morning numbers in type 1's. The two are very different but are often lumped into the same problem.

GabbyPA 2009-03-27 07:57:09 -0500 Report

I have read that it is part of our nature to have this. It is what allows us to wake and be ready for the day. It gives us the energy thru the night so we can start our day spot on. I hate it! LOL
I was discussing this with another member and they take their metformin all at night before bed. I am going to talk to my doctor about doing that. I am always high in the morning and drop during the day....so I hope that will work for me.

Mom and boys
Mom and boys 2009-03-26 05:50:45 -0500 Report

This has been one of my issues. I keep thinking that my night time meds. need to increase. But I was talking to a health coach this week and she advised me to have a snack before bed. I have been very good at it for a week now and my numbers have been wonderful in the AM!

jsd2005 2009-03-26 07:35:43 -0500 Report


Bailey - 33038
Bailey - 33038 2009-03-26 23:21:15 -0500 Report

It sounds like you have a great health coach. I haven't found a good professional support system to help me with these kinds of issues. Glad I found this community so that I can get advice, ideas, and support from people who really care and can think out side of the box.

Mom and boys
Mom and boys 2009-03-27 09:31:26 -0500 Report

The support person is only part of a program I am doing and it has a limited time frame :( My internalist has actually been very lax about referals for any kind of diabeties training. I guess he thinks I already know idt all because I was gestational and diet controlled for so many years. I am just trying to figure this out the best I can.

Splender 2009-03-26 04:18:31 -0500 Report

For years I had this problem. I'm type 2 and between my doctor and myself we had a long hard battle to fight. Now that I have my morning sugars as normal as I can get them I have started to have high dinner sugars. If it's not one thing it's another. But this "DAWN PHENONMENON" is good to know about. Thanks.


Bailey - 33038
Bailey - 33038 2009-03-26 02:07:24 -0500 Report

I have this problem and I feel very hungry when I wake up, which sometimes leads me to eating too much for breakfast. I found that eating protein before I go to sleep reduces that early morning blood sugar increase. Try a small piece of cheese, a slice of turkey or ham. I hope this helps.