Keeping Your TV on at Night May Lead to Weight Gain

11 Juin, 2019, 23:26 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Light may be suppressing production of melatonin thereby disruption circadian rhythm and eating patterns

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.

- Women who sleep with the television on or with the presence of other artificial light during the night may be at higher risk of weight gain or developing obesity, according to a group of researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

The analysis focused on data on sleep, light exposure and weight gain during the study, but not on breast cancer.

However, most of this research was conducted in night-shift workers who are exposed to high levels of light at night; these results may not apply to the general population.

More than 43,000 women in the USA ages 35 to 74 were observed in the study.

By analyzing self-reported fluctuations in weight, height, waist/hip circumference, and body mass index over the five-year period, they found that artificial light does indeed affect weight-but not all light is created equal.

But researchers said they hoped the study will give women who sleep with artificial light at night a way to improve their health.

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But their finding squares with other research suggesting artificial light disrupts our body's delicate chemistry, with grave knock-on effects.

They were also unable to disentangle the relationship between ALAN and factors such as an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress and other sleep characteristics - nor did they ask women why they slept with a light on.

Although the new findings aren't conclusive, reducing your exposure to light and night may not be a bad idea.

"Humans are genetically adapted to a natural environment consisting of sunlight during the day and darkness at night", Chandra Jackson, Ph.D., and the study's co-author said. Those who reported sleeping at night in a room with a television on or a light were more likely to gain at least 4.9 kgs over about five years than those who slept in darkness.

The findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that light at night may be bad for health. These factors included age, having an older spouse or children in the home, race, socioeconomic status, calories consumed, and physical activity.

Getting enough quality sleep every night is a tip at the top of any healthy living checklist, and lack of sleep has indeed been associated with a variety of conditions including obesity. "It seems reasonable to advise people not to sleep with lights on", Park and Sandler said.

"It's really important that you have that daytime-nighttime cycle, so that you appropriately regulate hormones, hormones that regulate your sleep, hormones that regulate your hunger, said lead author Dale Sandler, a scientist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of NIH".

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