Sleep duration and disorders in pregnancy: implications for glucose metabolism and pregnancy outcomes

O'Keeffe, M; St-Onge, M-P
June 2013
International Journal of Obesity;Jun2013, Vol. 37 Issue 6, p765
Academic Journal
Humans have an innate requirement for sleep that is intrinsically governed by circadian and endocrine systems. More recently, reduced sleep duration has gained significant attention for its possible contribution to metabolic dysfunction. Significant evidence suggests that reduced sleep duration may elevate the risk for impaired glucose functioning, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, to date, few studies have determined the implications of reduced sleep duration with regard to glucose control during pregnancy. With the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in women of reproductive age, the occurrence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing. GDM results in elevated risk of maternal and fetal complications, as well as increased risk of type 2 diabetes postpartum. Infants born to women with GDM also carry a life-long risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The impact of reduced sleep on glucose management during pregnancy has not yet been fully assessed and a paucity of literature currently exits. Herein, we review the association between reduced sleep and impaired carbohydrate metabolism and propose how reduced sleep during pregnancy may result in further dysfunction of the carbohydrate axis. A particular focus will be given to sleep-disordered breathing, as well as GDM-complicated pregnancies. Putative mechanisms of action by which reduced sleep may adversely affect maternal and infant outcomes are also discussed. Finally, we will outline important research questions that need to be addressed.


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