Want to Slash Your Gestational Diabetes Risk? Hit the Sack

Pregnancy can make a good night's sleep hard to come by—but if you need another reason to get more rest, here it is.

Sleep and gestational diabetes Mediaphotos/Shutterstock
Need an excuse to hit that snooze button a few more times? This news might be it. A recent study published in SLEEP links short sleep duration with increased gestational diabetes risk—which means getting more shut-eye each night might help you keep your risk level for this common pregnancy complication low (and hey, help you feel a lot more rested, too).

Gestational diabetes can lead to complications like pre-term labor, birth trauma, high blood pressure among mothers and even fetal death—but could slashing your risk of dealing with this common condition really be as simple as just getting more sleep? The theory makes sense: Sleep can reportedly influence glucose metabolism and short sleep duration has been called out as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. 

Researchers conducted this research based on a sleep survey given to a group of pregnant women. The 686 women surveyed had their glucose levels checked, and 131 of the women involved were diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The researchers adjusted their data to account for other factors (like age, weight, and history of gestational diabetes) but still found that women who slept less than six hours a night had the highest odds 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 said, according to a release for the study. "The importance of healthy sleep habits should be emphasized to doctors and patients, in addition to initiatives that are geared toward improving other lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise."

While this study is based on association, it's worth thinking about—after all, getting enough sleep is an essential part of building a healthy lifestyle, and a healthy baby. Our take? Consider scheduling a bit more time for shut-eye every night. Easier said than done, we know—but the payoff could be major.