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Reducing Health Risks for Pregnant Women by Turning Off Lights Before Bed

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American scientists have reported that turning off smartphones and dimming the lights before bed can reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes in pregnant women.

Gestational diabetes is defined as a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and affects about 5% of pregnant women.

While most women have normal pregnancies and diabetes returns to normal after delivery, gestational diabetes is associated with some health problems and complications if not properly controlled, which can include preterm birth, unusually large babies, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. in women at an older age.

A new study shows that women who were exposed to more light three hours before bed were more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

The researchers studied 741 second-trimester women whose exposure to light was measured for seven consecutive days using a wrist tracker.

The aim of the study was to find out how long women spent the three hours before bed in the brightest ordinary light of 10 lux (a unit of brightness also known as the candela).

The researchers also measured the time participants spent in dim light, less than 10 lux, which is equivalent to the level of a candle and achievable with a dim overhead light or table lamp.

The researchers divided the women into three groups based on how much light above 10 lux they were exposed to.

The results showed that women who were exposed to natural light for an average of one hour and 19 minutes three hours before bedtime were more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

This was compared to pregnant women who were exposed to the least amount of natural light, only about 24 minutes three hours before bedtime.

Notably, the study tracked only one week of women’s exposure to light during pregnancy, which may not be typical.

There is more evidence linking light exposure to diabetes in non-pregnant women, so more evidence is needed.”

But the researchers concluded that people should limit the light they are exposed to before bed, including from electronic devices.

“We don’t think about the potential harm of ambient lighting from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed,” says Dr. Minji Kim, a neuroscientist who led the study at Northwestern University in the US. be rather dim for a few hours before bed. We probably don’t need that much light for what we usually do in the evening.”

She advised: “Try to reduce the amount of light in your surroundings during those three hours before bed. It is better not to use a computer or phone during this period. But if you have to use them, keep your screens as dimmer as possible.”

Most electronic devices have settings to limit the blue light they emit, which affects melatonin, a hormone that helps the body know when to sleep and wake up.

Melatonin has also been linked to how well the body regulates blood sugar levels, which may explain how late-night light can be linked to gestational diabetes.

The study identified a third group of women who were moderately exposed to brighter light and received about 48 minutes of normal, non-dim light three hours before bedtime.

Compared to the group with the lowest normalized light exposure, 24 minutes, women with moderate light exposure were about 4 times more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

A total of 31 women in the group, or about 4%, developed gestational diabetes. Their exposure to light during the day or the level of physical activity they performed did not differ from those who did not have gestational diabetes.

Even after taking into account factors such as age and weight, the risk of developing gestational diabetes in women was higher if they were exposed to more light before bed.

The study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Maternal Fetal Medicine.

Source: Daily Mail

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