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Study Finds Using Only Dim Lights before Bedtime Could Reduce the Risk for Gestational Diabetes

A new study has disclosed that reducing bedtime light exposure for pregnant women can lower their risk for gestational diabetes mellitus. Minjee Kim, an assistant professor at North-western University, recognized light exposure before bedtime as a modifiable risk factor for gestational diabetes.

Recommendations suggest turning off or dimming lights well before bedtime; these include light exposures from television, computer monitors, smartphones, and other gadgets. Exposure to bright light after dark impairs the body's glucose regulation owing to sympathetic overactivity. 

Gestational diabetes imposes serious health consequences for the mother and the fetus. This study marked the first large-scale analysis of the effects of bedtime light exposure during pregnancy and its impact on gestational diabetes development. These women have a high (10-fold higher) likelihood of developing Type-2 diabetes mellitus post-delivery. Further, children born to these mothers tend to be obese and acquire metabolic diseases. 

It is suggested that artificial lights be kept very dim for several hours before sleeping. Also, pregnant women should avoid watching television, and using a computer and phone, for at least 3 hours before bed. Using very dim screen lights may be allowed for pregnant women who need to use these gadgets even at nights for work. 

It is known that bedtime light exposure increases heart rate and the chances of developing abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, and hypertension.

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