Dawn phenomenon is having higher glucose level during dawn hours. This typically happens between 3am-8am.
The dawn phenomenon is a major concern for people who are diabetic. Diabetic people can have higher than normal glucose level during morning time.
Cause of dawn phenomenon:
Human body is designed to work best during the day and rest at night. In order to prepare for the day and have constant/good energy level, some harmones are released between 3 am -8am that send signals to liver to release more sugar into the blood. That is why some people call it liver dump.
These hormones also inhibits the function of insulin. Insulin controls blood glucose level and if insulin activity had been hampered by release of some other harmones, we will have higher than normal glucose level.
Dawn phenomenon-non diabetic is not a big concern because it is very natural to have slightly higher blood glucose during morning hours.
Similar to dawn phenomenon, there is another factor that can elevate the blood glucose level it is called Somogyi effect.
When your blood sugar level drops really low during the sleep. A hormone is released that will cause your liver to release more glucose in your blood. This usually happens when you are asleep. This is also called rebound hyperglycemia.
Dawn phenomena vs Somogyi effect
The main difference between the dawn phenomenon and Somogyi effect is the time and level of blood sugar. If your blood glucose is low consistently low between 1-3 am then Somogyi effect is suspected. Otherwise dawn phenomenon may be the main culprit.
These two effects have consequences for people with diabetes. For people who are on the keto diet for weight loss program, this is not a big concern. Similarly, endurance athletes who pay attention to their blood ketone levels during the morning time, should not be worried too much about this.
My blood glucose level is always higher in the morning. Though it is always in the normal range.