Study: Lack of Sleep Linked to Gestational Diabetes

Expecting moms may want to ramp up the number of hours that they sleep.Sleep disturbances are common during pregnancy. A new study suggests that expecting moms may want to ramp up the number of hours that they sleep.

According to the CDC, more than a third of American adults are not getting enough shut-eye. In fact, the most recent Gallup data shows that the average American slept 6.8 hours a night, with more than 40% getting less than six hours of sleep.  With the increased use of technology, many are falling behind on this very important health habit.

There has been plenty of research demonstrating the link between sleep deprivation and Type II diabetes. A new study has found a link between lack of sleep during pregnancy and an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.

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Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a meta-analysis that included eight studies and 17,308 women. The studies were largely self-reported studies, with one objective study measuring sleep duration.  An additional four studies were used to pool individual patient data, which objectively measured sleep.

The analysis revealed that those women who reported getting less than 6 to 7 hours experienced a 1.7-fold increase in the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Among those studies where sleep was measured objectively, women who slept less than 6.25 hours a night had a 2.84-fold increase in risk for gestational diabetes versus those who slept longer than 6.25 hours a night.

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Gestational diabetes affects an estimated 18 percent of women during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is typically a temporary condition in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to regulate glucose during pregnancy. If untreated, gestational diabetes can lead to large babies, premature delivery, and increased risk of neonatal death. Women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes have a 35-60% increased risk of developing Type II diabetes within the next ten years after birth.

“This is the first meta-analysis to find that both self-reported and objectively measured short sleep duration was associated with elevated blood sugar levels in pregnancy as well as an increased risk for developing gestational diabetes,” said lead author Sirimon Reutrakul. “More research is needed to confirm our findings, and to determine whether sleep extension may be beneficial in lowering the risk of gestational diabetes.”

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