As I go about pet sitting, I always have request for photos of the fur babies I watch. Sit and stay are my favorite commands. This past week, I had nine visits to do in one day. My three morning visits were the most challenging. The cat and dogs were bundles of wiggling energy. I guess humans aren’t the only species that has the dawn phenomenon.
The dawn phenomenon is when your body releases extra blood sugar in the morning. It gives us energy to get our day started and get up out of bed. Everyone has it. Other people's bodies produce insulin; and they never really notice this effect. This just sparked all sorts of questions. What time does a body release blood sugar in the morning? How much blood sugar does the body release? How should we plan to combat this for healthy blood sugar levels?
When I was a portrait photographer, Sundays would be rough days. Everyone was already wearing their Sunday best. Hence, everyone wanted to get photographed on Sundays. Moving props and height adjusting boxes back-and-forth in between running back to the camera for multiple shots is quite a workout. It wouldn’t really show up that same day. The next day my blood sugar would be lower.
Most of my shoots were really far away from home. It wasn’t unusual for me to travel eight hours to shoot a church directory. I started getting up earlier to make the drive back through less traffic. All that physical activity would cause my insulin to drop early in the morning for a natural alarm clock. It was nothing for me to wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning with blood sugar at 60 or 70 with a matching dehydration headache.
Of course, I would drink water and snack on something to bring my blood sugar up. I made every effort to eat protein snacks, like eggs or nuts. Still, my favorite food choice was one third of an 86% dark chocolate Ghirardelli bar. Later in the morning, I would be confused when my blood sugar soared.
For diabetics, it is very important to know how much sugar in your body releases. It helps us figure out how much insulin to take when having breakfast. If you had a late-night snack the night before, will this carry over and add to the amount of sugar in your body? I know it does. This is why diabetics are told not to snack late at night.
What I found to be true is that dawn phenomenon seemed to happen in my body when my blood sugar was low at certain times in the morning after the equivalent of an extreme workout the day before and a long period of inactivity the following day driving. It looks like the body takes the current blood sugar reading into consideration before releasing blood sugar. It makes sense that glucagon stores were released and used up. Does the body also take the previous day's physical activity into consideration? The body may use the simple rule of taking into account the amount of exercise in the past 24 hours to be what's going to happen now and the rest of the day. On the other hand, when I'm at home with a normal schedule and extremely good diet, there are many days when I wake up with normal blood sugar levels without any dawn phenomenon at all.
In the morning, we do need some carbohydrates. This sweet recipe gives you some. Please be sure to only eat one slice with some protein like scrambled eggs. The protein ensures our bodies process the carbs at a slower, gentler rate for our blood sugar level.
- 2 1/4 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup of sugar free maple syrup
- 1 cup raisins
- butter spray
1.) Preheat the oven to 350°.
2.) Combine the almond flour, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to mix the ingredients and sift through the flour.
3.) In a separate bowl, beat six eggs and add in the almond milk and sugar-free maple syrup.
4.) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl and mix well.
5.) Add the raisins last and mix them into the batter.
6.) Place the bowl to the side for 10 minutes to thicken.
7.) Spray the bread pan with butter spray and fill with the batter.
8.) Cook for 45 minutes.
9.) Carefully slice the moist bread. Carefully place on a baking sheet and toast for 4-6 minutes.
10.) Butter and serve.
To find the answers the key is medical research. Just a quick PSA, please make sure when you’re doing research that your sources aren’t coming from an entity that wants to sell to you. You really want to look for medical sources like the Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, or Harvard medical for your information. I really appreciate Healthline as an information source, but I go to Google scholar for more in depth research. Here are my findings...
Our bodies tend to release the most glucose from noon to 6pm. The body also releases the least insulin from midnight to 6am. Around 6am, the circadian clock, that regulates our daily rhythms in our bodies, signals the body to release energy. Disruption of the circadian clock, like getting up at 3am, could be the cause of the dawn phenomenon.
Source: "Somogyi Phenomenon "
National Library of Medicine May 19th, 2022
"Circadian Clock Diurnal Glucose Metabolic Rhythm, and Dawn Phenomenon"
Trends in Neurosciences Vol.45 Issue 6 June 2022
Now that the summer is coming to an end, the days are getting slightly shorter. The marigolds are growing and starting to bloom. The pepper plants are popping new flowers to replace the picked vegetables. I'll head back out to collect more to put away for the winter. Exercise should help exhaust me, so I get to sleep earlier. This may just help me keep my circadian clock aligned. That may be the key to help prevent the dawn phenomenon.
This morning, I'll enjoy this recipe. It may become a new favorite. If you have a favorite dish, please tell me. I'll create a diabetic friendly version, just let me know by leaving a note below. I've learned how to swap blood sugar spiking ingredients for others with a lower glycemic index. It may take a week or two, but I love the challenge. Please comment, like, share, and come back next week for more recipes, ideas, and tips. Subscribe to the website, if you would like weekly email reminders to add more recipes to your recipe book.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, but a compilation of research from medical sites. Make sure to see your doctor and have up-to-date lab work