Why pregnant women should dim lights before bedtime

Why pregnant women should dim lights before bedtime
Published 1 years ago on Mar 15, 2023

Mothers-to-be who spend time in rooms with low lighting — along with not-so-bright phone and computer screens — for a few hours before they go to sleep are shown to be at less risk for gestational diabetes mellitus, Eurekalert! reported. 

The researchers found that women who developed this type of diabetes had higher light exposure during the three hours before they had gone to sleep.

“We don’t think abou the potantial harm of keeping the environment bright from the moment we wake up until we go to bed,” said lead study author and Northwestern Medicine neurologist Dr. Minjee Kim.

“But it should be pretty dim for several hours before we go to bed. We probably don’t need that much light for whatever we do routinely in the evening.”

The new information comes at a crucial time. The number of gestational diabetes cases has risen both in the US and across the globe at an “alarming” pace, Kim added.

In 2020, the rate of gestational diabetes had risen to 7.8% of all US births. It had been only about 4.5% between 2011 and 2013. It is also reported that developing gestational diabetes puts mothers at a higher risk for their next pregnancy.

“Gestational diabetes is known to increase obstetric complications, and the mother’s risk of diabetes, heart diseases and dementia. 

.The offspring also are more likely to have obsity and hypertension as they grow up,” Kim added, also saying that the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus increases by a factor of 10.

It is currently thought that the nighttime light exposure is causing overactivity which could impact a person’s glucose metabolism, according to Kim.

“It seems there is inappropriate activation of the fight or flight response when it is time to rest,” Kim said. 

Although it remains unclear which source of bright lighting is the worst culprit of them all, Kim believes that the combination of all sorts can have overall impact. But turning off blue-light features on phones and using night lights are good options, according to the neurologist.

“Turning down the lights is an easy modification you can make,” Kim, who had admittedly turned into the “light police” at their own home, said. “It’s best not to use your computer or phone during this period. But if you have to use them, keep the screens as dim as possible.”


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