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The Dawn Phenomenon and The Top 10 Ways to Improve Blood Sugar & Weight

Sunrise, Casole dElsa, Tuscany, Italy - photo by T.Garnero

What is the Dawn Phenomenon?

And what are the best ways to improve blood sugar and weight?

These are common questions we decided to address during a recent Virtual Office Hours where Sweet People Club members meet face-to-face (virtually via computer or phone) to discuss current topics and answer specific questions.

The Dawn Phenomenon

If you wake up with a blood sugar that’s a lot higher than your bedtime blood sugar, it might be the Dawn Phenomenon at play. This is the body’s response to hormones that are released in the early morning hours. This happens for all of us. Only when you have high blood sugars, it’s because there isn’t quite enough insulin within your body, so these so-called “counter regulatory hormones” make the sugars go even higher.

I’ve summarized it in this short video.

So, what can you do?

  1. See if this is really an issue.Check your blood sugar a few different nights between 2-3 a.m. to find out your level. (If you’re on a continuous glucose monitor, you won’t have to wake up for this obviously, as you can just check what happened to your blood sugars during the night that next morning). Work with your health care provider or your diabetes care and education specialist (like we have right here at the Sweet People Club) to look at your blood sugar patterns. If you take medications for your blood sugar, your doctor or provider may change the amount or timing of when you take them.
  2. Exercise later in the day.This may help your body burn more glucose at night.
  3. If you have a snack before bedtime, make it no or low carb. For example, have a small handful of unsalted nuts, or a stick of cheese.
  4. “Break” the fast. Have breakfast when you wake up.This turns off the counterregulatory hormones.

The Top 10 Ways to Improve Blood Sugar & Weight

In working with registered dietitian, Stephanie Bouquet, we came up with ways that could help you regardless of your eating style.

Download the worksheet here or click on the image below to see how you’re doing. It has space so you can also add other areas you’re focusing on.

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