Exposure To Light Before Sleep Increases Risk Of Gestational Diabetes, Study Shows

In Education

A recent study by Northwestern Medicine suggests that pregnant women should reduce their exposure to light in the evening to minimize their risk of gestational diabetes mellitus.

Pre-sleep light exposure increases gestational diabetes risk in women

The study found that women who developed the condition had more light exposure in the hours leading up to sleep than those who did not. Lead author Dr. Minjee Kim suggests that this risk factor is easily adjustable by dimming screens and lights a few hours before bedtime.

Exposure to evening light before bedtime may affect glucose regulation in non-pregnant adults. However, the effect on developing gestational diabetes, a common pregnancy complication, is unknown. This multi-site study is among the first to investigate the relationship between evening light exposure during pregnancy and the risk of gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes rates have increased in the United States and globally, with 4.5% of first-time pregnant women developing it between 2011-2013. The rates increased by 3.4% per three-year period until 2019, and in 2020, the rate of gestational diabetes was 7.8% of all births in the US. Women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other health complications, and their offspring may also be at increased risk of obesity and hypertension.

Avoid using electronic devices before sleep

It is recommended to keep the environment dim for several hours before bed and avoid using devices during this period. Pregnant women who develop gestational diabetes in their first pregnancy are more likely to have it in subsequent pregnancies.

Exposure to light before sleep increases heart rate, which may affect glucose metabolism and lead to cardiometabolic diseases. A study of 741 women in their second trimester found that pre-sleep light exposure was significantly associated with gestational diabetes, even after adjusting for other factors such as BMI and age. The growing rate of gestational diabetes may be partially attributed to increasing BMI and age, but pre-sleep light exposure may also be a contributing factor.

Mobile Sliding Menu