The Dawn Phenomenon

First weekend with my new pump went really well. I spent a good part of Saturday in the pool and checked my sensor at least once an hour. Sunday was tough. I never suffer from migraines, but I had the closest thing to one all day combined with a throbbing twinge in my neck. I ate well, tried to relax, went for a swim, watched t.v., drank water, drank coffee, took a bubble bath and a nap. Nothing worked, but at the same time, my blood sugar was very steady all day. Fortunately, after dinner and a backrub from my sweet husband, I started feeling better.

Then, the weirdest thing happened. I went to sleep with a blood sugar reading of 207 which I don’t mind because I find that my sugar goes down while I sleep. However, early this morning, my sensor started yelling at me and I woke up at 317. I assumed that my sensor was just way off but when I calibrated it was right on the money- finger stick was 318. I ate dinner around 6 the night before, went to sleep at 11, and had a small snack  about 45 min. before bed (no bake peanut butter balls— I use 1 tbsp. agave instead of brown sugar and add a handful of dark chocolate chips). They don’t usually bring my blood sugar up too high and I always give myself a bolus when I have one. The other weird thing is that I didn’t feel like my blood sugar was high at all. I never woke up to use the bathroom, didn’t run to the kitchen for a glass of water and didn’t have dry mouth when my alarm woke me up. I was convinced my sensor was just way off like it’s been before, but it wasn’t. I must have had a peanut butter ball loaded with dark chocolate chips in addition to experiencing the ‘Dawn Phenomenon’.

I did a little digging and found that there are a bunch of people who experience the Dawn Phenomenon. Between 4 and 8 am (which was exactly when my sensor started yelling at me) people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes find that their blood sugars will spike. Sometimes it’s a lot, and sometimes it’s not very much at all. This happens because the body increases hormones like growth hormone, Cortisol, Catecholamines, Glucagon, and Adrenaline. That triggers the liver to release glucose to give the body energy to wake up. Although it took my sensor beeping at me and my alarm ringing in my ear to really get me awake.

I find that my blood sugar goes down more often than up while I’m sleeping, so I’m sure my high blood sugar had more to do with my snack. I was also due to change my pump and should have done it before bed, although I don’t like changing it and then going to sleep in case I have a site failure. Maybe I’ll skip the dark chocolate chips in my peanut butter balls next time!


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