Catching zzz’s isn’t always easy whilst pregnant; perpetually bursting bladder, night sweats, a bump in the way of every comfortable position…Mission Near-Impossible.
But apart from the obvious pros of getting enough shut-eye – preggers or not – there’s another reason you should be working on your R&R despite the bedtime difficulties — and it has important benefits for you and your baby.
A recent study has revealed a link between short sleep duration and the incidence of gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes brings a host of risks with it, from pre-term labour and birth trauma to high maternal blood pressure and even foetal death. According to the study, sleep can influence glucose metabolism – and it’s this metabolic process which determines the risk for type 2 diabetes.
Researchers surveyed 686 pregnant women – 131 of the participants were diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The researchers then analysed the women’s sleep patterns.
After factoring in variables such as age, weight, and history of gestational diabetes, the findings still showed a correlation between women who slept less than six hours a night and a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes.
“Our results raise the possibility that good sleep habits could reduce the likelihood of developing hyperglycemia and GDM,” the study’s senior author Joshua Gooley, PhD says. “The importance of healthy sleep habits should be emphasised to doctors and patients, in addition to initiatives that are geared toward improving other lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise.”
At this point, the study’s hypothesis is based on association, not direct cause and effect; however, it’s never a bad idea to hit the sack whenever you can anyway…because once baby’s out, sleep will be a very foggy memory..