By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
An increasing number of women are being diagnosed with diabetes while pregnant. There are several potential explanations. New research shows not getting enough sleep significantly raises the risk. This finding was published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews.
These days, most people are getting less sleep than ideal. The average duration of sleep for adults in most parts of the world has fallen, and around a quarter of women are not getting sufficient sleep each night. That’s not good for your health, but can have particularly harmful effects while pregnant.
Some studies have shown that shorter sleep duration is associated with higher blood sugar levels in pregnant women. This is not surprising. It is well known that insufficient sleep causes insulin resistance to varying degrees. That means if you aren’t sleeping enough, insulin and other hormones have a harder time controlling your blood sugar level.
Insufficient sleep also messes with leptin and your hunger hormones. It can cause insulin resistance and leptin resistance, and raise the level of the hunger hormone called ghrelin. This means you’re more likely to feel more hungry, and you’ll probably get less satisfaction from your meals. You might want to graze all day. If you have the genetic predisposition towards type 2 diabetes, this can increase your risk of getting gestational diabetes while pregnant.
Gestational diabetes most commonly occurs in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Most doctors suggest that pregnant women have a blood sugar test between 24 and 28 weeks of their pregnancy. Gestational diabetes affects three to seven percent of all pregnancies and the incidence is rising. Usually there are no symptoms, and blood sugar returns to normal after giving birth.
Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes usually have a higher birth weight and can suffer with metabolic problems in childhood, making it difficult to control their weight. Women who have gestational diabetes are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in their life, particularly if they are overweight. Their babies are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Once you are pregnant, getting adequate sleep can be difficult due to a range of factors, including changed sleeping position, heartburn and muscle cramps. That’s why it’s important to address insulin resistance before falling pregnant. If you aren’t sure if you’re insulin resistant, this article can let you know.
There is a lot of helpful information in the books I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why and Diabetes Type 2: You Can Reverse It Naturally. If you are unhappy with the quality of your sleep, a magnesium supplement may help.
If you would like to improve your eating habits and take better care of your health, Dr Cabot’s 15 Day Cleanse can give you the tools and motivation to achieve that.