Dawn Phenomenon

All people have the “dawn phenomenon,” if they have diabetes or not.

The dawn phenomenon is a surge of hormones that the body produces daily around 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

People with diabetes don't have normal insulin responses to adjust for this, and may see their fasting glucose go up.

The rise in glucose is mostly because your body is making less insulin and more glucagon (a hormone that increases blood glucose) than it needs. The less insulin made by the pancreas, the more glucagon the pancreas makes as a result. Glucagon signals the liver to break down glycogen into glucose. This is why high fasting blood glucose levels are common in people with type 2.

Steps that may help:

  • Eat dinner earlier in the evening
  • Do something active after dinner (such as going for a walk)

If your fasting glucose continues to be high, your health care provider may prescribe medication.

  • Last Reviewed: June 7, 2013
  • Last Edited: December 6, 2013

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast