Type 2 diabetes means a person’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels.
Overtime, unchecked blood sugar levels can pose grave health risks, such as an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.
It is well understood that cutting down on certain sugary foods and drinks can help to keep blood sugar levels at bay.
Surprisingly, research has found just an hour of phone or tablet screen time at night could also lead to increased sugar consumption.
Teams from the University of Strasbourg and University of Amsterdam investigated the effects of blue light – the light produced from devices – and its effects on blood glucose regulation.
As Diabetes.co.uk reported, artificial light has previously been linked with increased risks of type 2 diabetes and other health conditions, which is hypothesised to occur because it disrupts the body’s circadian rhythms.
The study involved exposing male rats to an hour of blue light in the evening, then measuring their food consumption and glucose tolerance the next day.
The rats used in the study were diurnal, meaning they were awake during the day and asleep at night.
The next day the animals were given the option to choose out of nutritionally balanced food (standard rodent food), water, lard and sugar water.
The researchers discovered that one hour of blue light was enough time for the rats to drink more sugar water at night compared to the nights they weren’t exposed to blue light.
The researchers explained that this association may exist because the retina is sensitive to the light omitted from devices and sends information to the part of the brain that controls appetite.
They say these findings suggest that humans using phones, tablets and laptops at night may be more prone to sugary snacks.
Lead study author Anayanci Masís-Vargas said: “Limiting the amount of time that we spend in front of screens at night is, for now, the best measure to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of blue light.
“In case it is necessary to be exposed to devices at night, I would recommend the use of apps and night mode features on the devices, which turn the screens more orange and less blue or the use of blue light filtering goggles that are already available in the market.”
According to Diabetes.co.uk, drinking alcohol can also affect blood sugar levels for up to several hours after stopping drinking.
Other factors that may affect blood sugar regulation include:
- Proteins affect sugar levels as well as carbohydrates, but to less of an extent and more slowly than carbs
- Stress and illness can also significantly affect blood sugar levels.
According to the NHS, physical exercise is an effective way to lower blood sugar levels.
“You should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week,” the health body advised.
It added: “You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath.”
This could be:
- Fast walking
- Climbing stairs
- Doing more strenuous housework or gardening
As Diabetes.co.uk explained, physical activity can affect insulin sensitivity for up to 48 hours – which can lead to lower blood sugars over this time.