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Dawn’s Phenomenon…I wish I had this article when it happened to me

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

It's the most beautiful time of day.

Every morning, before the sun even comes up, you feel the gentle warmth of its rays on your face and you're up and at it. But when you check your blood sugars they are towards a higher side.

This phenomenon is called "dawn phenomenon," and it affects a lot patients with diabetes. But what causes it? And how do you fix it? Let's take a look.

What Causes Dawn Phenomenon?

Dawn phenomenon is the term given to an increase in blood sugar in the morning caused by the body’s release of certain hormones.

It is a relatively common phenomenon amongst diabetics Although often confused, Dawn Phenomenon is different from Chronic Somogyi Rebound , because it is not brought on by nocturnal hypoglycemia.

How is Dawn's Phenomenon caused?

Dawn effect occurs when hormones (including cortisol, glucagon, epinephrine) are released by the body, causing the liver to release glucose.

The dawn effect therefore describes abnormally high early morning increases in blood glucose :

Usually abnormally high blood glucose levels occur between 3 -7 am after going to sleep for people with diabetes

The cause of dawn's phenomenon is unknown, but researchers believe it may be linked to hormones which can lead to a brief period of increased insulin resistance.

How can Dawn's Phenomenon be treated?

One of the following steps can be taken to stabilise the blood sugars:
  • Adjusting insulin dosage

  • Adjusting medication dosage

  • Switching to different medication

  • Switching to an insulin with a different profile of activity

  • Not eating carbohydrate snacks before bed

  • Using an insulin pump to administer extra insulin

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