New research from Northwestern Medicine suggests that pregnant women can reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus by turning down the lights in their homes and turning off or at least dimming their screens (computer monitors and smartphones) a few hours before bedtime.
It was found in the multi-site study that women who developed gestational diabetes mellitus were exposed to more light in the three hours before bedtime. They were not any less active or exposed to less light during the day than those who did not develop it.
The study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Maternal Fetal Medicine.
Researchers analyzed data from 741 pregnant women during their second trimester at eight different clinical sites in the United States between 2011 and 2013. An actigraph, worn on the wrist, recorded how much time the subjects were exposed to light. The measurements were taken while the women were in their second trimester of pregnancy, when screening for gestational diabetes is routine.
“Our study suggests that light exposure before bedtime may be an under-recognized yet easily modifiable risk factor of gestational diabetes,” the study’s lead author stated in a news release.