Too Much Light Before Bedtime Can Lead To gestational Diabetes, Study Finds

In Education

The incidence of gestational diabetes is rising, which can result in serious health hazards for both the baby and the mother. Although diabetes is usually associated with eating habits and nutrition, recent research conducted by Northwestern University indicates that pregnant women exposed to more light three hours before bedtime had an increased likelihood of developing gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes affects 8% of births in the US

According to recent statistics, gestational diabetes affects almost 8% of all births in the United States as of 2020. Additionally, current research indicates that women with gestational diabetes are nearly ten times more likely to develop Type II diabetes later in life than those who did not experience glucose intolerance while pregnant.

Assistant neurology professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead study author Dr. Minjee Kim said that this is alarming because gestation diabetes increases obstetric complications. Besides gestation diabetes, Kim adds that it puts the mother at risk of heart disease, Type II diabetes, and dementia. The baby is also more likely to have hypertension and obesity as they grow.

According to experts, reducing the brightness of the lights inside the home can be beneficial. However, there are other potential hazards associated with electronic devices, such as televisions, computers, and phones. Although researchers cannot identify the specific light source that may be most responsible, it is believed that these devices could contribute to the problem.

Exposure to light before impacts glucose metabolism

Kim suggests that many people are not aware of the potential harm caused by exposure to bright light in the environment before going to bed. To mitigate this, Kim recommends that women use night mode and turn off the blue light on their devices.

Most importantly, the environment should be kept dim for several hours before going to sleep, as excessive light during this time can trigger the sympathetic nervous system and cause the body to go into “fight or flight” mode. This can lead to a rise in heart rate and negatively impact glucose metabolism, potentially leading to conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure.

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