Help with Dawn Phenomenon!

I eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast and lunch a sandwich with 2 pieces of bread (32g) However my BG levels after breakfast are near 200 and after lunch about 110. I normally give 5 units for breakfast and 4 for lunch. I guess the solutions are eat less carbs for breakfast.

How common is the dawn phenomenon. My BG levels are almost always high 1 hour after breakfast. And I test when I wake up in the morning and I am always 85-95 before breakfast.


Hey Rich, what happens if you don’t eat anything? Do your numbers still go up? If so, you may need more basal insulin in the morning (that’s what happens to me). If you only rise when you eat, you may need a higher I:C ratio for breakfast. I find these kind of “unexplainable” highs the most frustrating!

I am not a DP expert by any means. I thought it happened at 4 am? But really, I have no idea…


That’s not dawn phenomenon. Dawn is when your BG goes up before breakfast. To prevent the spike, take your insulin 30 minutes before eating and you also may need to decrease your insulin:carb ratio in the morning. Mine for breakfast is 1:15 but after lunch it’s 1:17. Don’t check your BG 1 hour after breakfast, your insulin activity peaks at 1.5 hours after dosing, so you’re not even on the decline yet, but if you’re spiking like that you def need to increase the time between bolus and consumption.

Also is it white bread or whole grain? If it’s white, try eating whole grain (not cheap wheat) bread like Sara Lee Multigrain for a week. It’s more expensive but I had to switch to stop the same type of spikes. The whole grain breads digest MUCH slower, resulting in a more level absorption pattern, and provide a more consistent glucose pattern. It also will keep your feeling fuller, longer because of its slower digestion.


That’s not entirely true. I read that some people are insulin resistant right when they wake up because your body is giving you adrenaline to start your day and get out of bed. MY BG always increases after I get up and during breakfast.

My sugar rises by 9am due to dawn phenomenon. I give a bolus of 1 unit of novolog at 8:30am which covers it perfectly. Took me awhile to get the timing down, but after several days/weeks of consistent results, I knew what time to bolus. Everybody that experiences a dawn phenomenon can have it at different times. I have talked to diabetics who have it occur really early in the am (like 4-5am), and others who actually have it in the afternoon. Definitely eat a late breakfast (or skip it) to see what happens without the food in your system before making any changes.

Rich, this is true for me as well.

My fix? Increased basal starting a few hours before I get up, AND more insulin for the carbs I eat in the morning.

To the OP - you may need to increase your basal, OR you may need a different insulin:carb ratio for breakfast.

Dawn phenomenon is waking up with significantly higher BG than before sleep BG.

If you’d rather not take more insulin, lower breakfast carbs. For many, this is a time of greater carb sensitivity/insulin resistance. My lowest I:C ratio is for breakfast. I eat the fewest carbs in the morning & stay with mostly protein. I’ve found that if I don’t eat anything my BG will climb as my liver continues to dump more glucose.

I’d call it Dawn Phenomenon if your numbers go up without eating. I sort of cheat and tweak my pump to go up a bit at like 4:00 AM and then I also “pre-bolus” a whiff, .3U, to cover disconnecting to take a shower. The pump subtracts that as IOB but I don’t run up in the AM any more.

i use the prime function to prime canula for the shower disconnect so it does not mess up the insulin on board.