The Dawn Phenomenon (What on earth is that?!)

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No, not that special quiet time you have in the morning before the kids wake up but a possible cause or contributor to your Warrior’s high sugar levels in the morning.

We found out the hard way in the early stages of our journey that giving Eva a teeny minute bedtime snack before bed was a baaaaaad idea. But fast forward to now and we’ve learnt a lot (and still have so much to learn) and we’ve managed to balance a well-rounded nutritious carb-free dinner with her insulin dose. Which is why we were confused when her levels were still climbing at around 3am.

The body is protecting itself

In my research I discovered that a common cause of hyperglycemia is the Dawn Phenomenon. The body (the incredible thing it is), makes sure it has enough energy to be able to wake up in the morning. So from about 3am till 8am, the body releases the hormones epinephrine, glucagon, and cortisol which then cause the liver to release glucose into the blood, to prepare the body for the day.

Naturally, the body then releases hormones to reduce the sensitivity to insulin to protect itself from high glucose levels, and so ensues the perfect dance of the pancreas. This so happens to also be the time that our little Warrior’s basal (long-acting insulin) starts wearing off-which in turn causes their sugar levels to rise. Makes so much sense now doesn’t it?!

It must be said, especially to the new Gatekeepers that not all high blood sugar levels in the morning are the result of the dawn phenomenon! They can also happen from eating sugary or high-carbohydrate foods before bed or not taking enough insulin.


Thanks for reading. Remember we’re all in this together. Without community, we’re alone. And managing this condition alone is very challenging and lonely! Please feel free to browse my blog for other articles and if there’s any topic you’d like to know more about-do let me know and I’ll try to feature it in my next post! You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. Or simply subscribe below and keep up to date with my latest discoveries on this condition 🙂

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