During our eight hours of sleep, we often wake up once or
twice at night to drink water or go to the washroom. However, for diabetic patients,
things are a little different. Most diabetic patients wake up almost every
night at the same time, at around 3 am, not because of some noise but because
their body wakes them up suddenly.
It happens due to a sudden rise in blood sugar levels,
which can occur due to two reasons – the Somogyi effect or the dawn
Hyperglycemia or an increase in the blood sugar level is
called the dawn phenomenon. It typically occurs in the morning between 3 to
The dawn phenomenon is common in patients with either
type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
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It occurs due to the release of hormones in the body such
as growth hormone, cortisol, and glucagon. As we all know that our body uses
glucose to produce energy and you need some extra energy to wake up in the
morning. So the body starts using stored glucose to prepare for the next day
and the liver releases extra glucose in the bloodstream due to growth hormone,
cortisol, and catecholamines.
Everyone experiences this natural increase in blood sugar.
In cases of individuals without diabetes, the pancreas starts producing
insulin to help keep the blood sugar level balanced.
Diabetic patients may produce too little insulin and the
medications they have taken a day before starts losing effectiveness which
causes the blood sugar levels to remain high.
Another cause of the high blood sugar levels in the
morning can be the Somogyi effect, also known as rebound hyperglycemia. This
happens when at midnight your blood sugar level drops too low and to revive you
from an extremely low blood sugar level the releases the hormones force the
liver to release the stored glucose to balance the level of glucose in the
body. But in diabetic patients, the liver releases extra glucose which causes
high blood sugar levels in the morning.
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to know the difference
The Somogyi effect leads to hypoglycemia followed by
hyperglycemia and it can occur at any time of the day when your body has a high
blood sugar level.
Another easy way to tell the difference between the two
is to check blood sugar levels before sleeping and then after waking up. If the
sugar level is low at night then it is due to the Somogyi effect. If it is
normal or high it can be due to the dawn phenomenon.
Once you know the cause of the spike in blood sugar
level, you should take the controlling measures accordingly. It is recommended
to consult your doctor regarding the situation to get the right prescription.