The Concerning Dangers of Somogyi Effect

The phenomenon troubling many diabetes patients is a so-called Somogyi effect discovered and documented by the physicist Michael Somogyi (yes, the effect is called after a scientist who discovered it). The condition is best characterized by a sudden rise of blood sugar in the morning against an anticipated decline.

The root of the problem

While the exact mechanism of the process is still being somewhat argued by scientists, the general idea is that a miscalculated dosage of insulin on the previous night may increase the insulin level on the next morning especially in case you consumed too much carbs during your evening meal. This is a common issue and not the Somogyi effect.

A specific strategy should be applied to manage the condition as effectively as possible since a single change in your routines will most certainly be fruitless in the long run. Experts recommend their patients to not only pay more attention to their evening carb consumption but also adjust insulin dosages accordingly in order to reduce the possibility of the rise of the blood sugar level in the morning. Altering the schedule can also be helpful.

The actual Somoyi Effect

In rare scenarios, patients may experience this phenomenon which is a rebound blood sugar rise that usually occurs right after hypoglycemia. The process takes place while you peacefully dream. The symptom is most frequently found in people with diabetes type 1 and those who use insulin nightly especially in relatively high doses.

The condition occurs more likely if you skip your bedtime snack and used insulin. The effect is a reverse mechanism that your body uses to avoid damage from too low of a blood sugar level by releasing special hormones. Thus, in the morning the readings of your glucometer surprise you.

When there is no Somogyi

Some patients mistakenly think that nearly all morning rises of the blood sugar are related to the so-called nocturnal hypoglycemia but it is not entirely true. There is another phenomenon that many refer to as to dawn effect and it not connected to nightly processes of counteracting low blood pressure. However, the result is very similar and just as dangerous.

To identify the exact nature of the condition that troubles you, try measuring the blood sugar level not only in the morning but also halfway through the night. Set an alarm and wake up after midnight to measure the sugar and do the same for several nights in a row. Regular drops in night readings may indicate that you indeed experience Somogyi. Otherwise, you need to find other reasons to your morning rises of the blood sugar.

Managing the problem

Experts suggest a variety of methods to manage the blood sugar level in the morning and you may use several tactics at once to maximize the effect.

Dietary solution is to focus on your evening carb consumption. In order to prevent nocturnal hypoglycemia, you may want to eat something before going to sleep especially if readings are too low going into the night. The most effective and healthy treat for the night is a piece of cheese or a handful of nuts.

Make sure to document your treatment efforts and write down everything that may affect the blood sugar level. Glucometer readings, rationing, insulin dosages, and other information can be extremely useful when developing an effective strategy to reduce the problem of morning sugar rises. After examining your logs, a doctor will be able to come up with new dosing and eating plan for your to follow.

If you don’t have Somogyi, try running or exercising before going to sleep in order to heat up the metabolism and keep the morning sugar rush at bay. Another suggestion is to eat more carbs in the morning to counteract the ascension of the blood sugar level in the morning. Just eat a nice breakfast despite high glucometer readings.


Do not follow our suggestions blindly and consult with a trustworthy specialist before changing your dietary routines and dosages of medications.