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The Dawn Phenomenon - Natural Ways to Control It

What is the Dawn phenomenon?

If you check your blood sugar in the morning after fasting all night and are higher than when you sleep, you may experience what is known as a "dawn phenomenon." This is also known as the "dawn effect" and is one of the most difficult diabetes challenges.

At night when we sleep, it is natural for our body to release cortisol, glucagon, and epinephrine. This regulatory hormone stimulates the liver to produce extra glucose and at the same time improves insulin resistance. In this way, the body builds up some extra glucose in the bloodstream before we wake up so that we will have the energy needed to start the day. However, in diabetic patients diabetes often increases too much during this process.

Some diabetic patients try to control the dawn phenomenon by adjusting their oral or insulin drugs. Unfortunately, this often does not work and the struggle continues. The good news is that there are some natural methods that have been found that seem to work well for many diabetics. Here's a list:

Eat a Small Snack Before Sleep

Some diabetics say that eating almost anything before bed can help control their morning blood sugar levels. However, most diabetic patients who experiment with different snacks have found that eating high in protein and healthy fats works better than eating something that contains a high amount of carbohydrates. Many diabetics swear by a small handful of peanuts or a spoonful of all natural peanut butter or other peanut butter (be sure not to get any type of sugar added). Beans are digested slowly and contain only enough carbohydrates to prevent the liver from being triggered to release more glucose. Eating a piece of cheese or some low carb yogurt is also popular. Bedtime may not be the best time to eat fruit as there are too many carbohydrates.

Take Apple Cider Vinegar Before Sleep

Apple cider vinegar is known to lower blood sugar and appears to be effective in controlling dawn phenomena as well. Many diabetics mix a spoon or two in water and drink it. You can also buy vinegar pills. To get this to work, you may need to try a little quantity of apple cider vinegar to see what works best for you. Some diabetics need less than others.

Take Milk Thistle Before Sleep

The use of milk thistle looks very promising for diabetics. It has shown a decrease in blood sugar levels in a small study involving 51 diabetic patients. Milk thistle is actually an ancient natural remedy and has been used to treat bladder and gall bladder problems for centuries. The active ingredient is silymarin which is a powerful antioxidant. It is believed to reduce oxidative stress associated with the development of diabetes and the deterioration of disease.

Control What You Eat At Diner

There seems to be a correlation between what you eat at your dinner time and your morning blood sugar level. You may want to limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat in restaurants and choose carbohydrates that have a lower glycemic index. Some diabetics find it helps to eat most of their carbohydrates early in the day. For example, if you want to eat fruit, you can try doing it at breakfast and lunch only and see if it makes a difference in your morning blood sugar level.

5-10 Minutes of Vigorous Exercise Before Sleep

Jump on the treadmill before bed and do some intense workouts. As with the other natural methods described here, you will need to do some tests to see if this works for you and determine how much training you need.


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