Morning Highs

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What is the dawn phenomenon?

Named after the time of day it occurs (not some highbrow researcher), the dawn phenomenon is the body’s response to hormones released in the early morning hours. This occurs for everyone. When we sleep, hormones are released to help maintain and restore cells within our bodies. These counterregulatory hormones (growth hormone, cortisol, and catecholamines) cause the glucose level to rise. For people with diabetes who do not have enough circulating insulin to keep this increase of glucose under control, the end result is a high glucose reading in the morning. For pregnant women, the dawn phenomenon is even more exaggerated due to additional hormones released in the night.