Tuesday, 07 July, 2020


Bedroom light at night might cause women weight gain

Light may be suppressing production of melatonin thereby disruption circadian rhythm and eating patterns Light may be suppressing production of melatonin thereby disruption circadian rhythm and eating patterns
Patty Aguilar | 11 June, 2019, 23:27

In other words, exposure to light at night might represent a "constellation" of factors, including those related to unhealthy behaviors, "all of which could contribute to weight gain and obesity", the authors said.

Those who were exposed to artificial light at night were significantly more likely to have gained weight over the follow-up period, even after the researchers adjusted for inadequate sleep, diet, and how active the women were.

"Turning off the light while sleeping may be a useful tool for reducing a possibility of weight gain and becoming overweight or obese", said lead author Dr Yong-Moon Mark Park.

Mounting research suggests disrupting that typical sleep-wake cycle may contribute to poor health, increasing risks for high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and obesity.

The National Institutes of Health study published Monday isn't proof, but it bolsters evidence suggesting that too much exposure to light at night could pose health risks.

The researchers analyzed health and lifestyle data on almost 44,000 USA women enrolled in an ongoing study seeking clues to causes of breast cancer. Participants fell between the ages of 35-74, had no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease, and were not shift workers, daytime sleepers, or pregnant at the time of the study.

The results varied with the level of artificial light at night exposure.

"Evolutionarily we are supposed to be sleeping at night, in a dark place", said lead author Dale Sandler, a scientist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

However, the researchers found only an association, and they can't prove that exposure to light at night directly causes weight gain or obesity.

Daily exposure to light and darkness helps maintain our 24-hour body clock, which regulates metabolism, sleep-promoting hormones, blood pressure, and other bodily functions. Sleeping with a small night light on, for example, wasn't associated with weight gain, but sleeping with the television on was. However, their findings did not change when analyses controlled for characteristics that may be associated with exposure to light at night. That being said, a direct link between artificial light in a bedroom and overall weight gain is still a bit startling to see. These factors included age, having an older spouse or children in the home, race, socioeconomic status, calories consumed, and physical activity. "It seems reasonable to advise people not to sleep with lights on", Park and Sandler said.

Respondents reported exposure to artificial light at night (ALAN) from televisions, smart phones, computers, e-readers and tablets, which emit a short wavelength-enriched light or "blue light" that previous research has linked to melatonin suppression and circadian disruption.

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