Sleeping with the TV on is linked to weight gain, study says

11 Juin, 2019, 08:36 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Obesity related hospital admissions soaring

"These results suggest that exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping may be a risk factor for weight gain and development of overweight or obesity", the authors said.

The study, which focused on women between the ages of 35 and 74, shows that sleeping with the TV on - or any other source of bright light in the bedroom - and gaining weight tend to go hand-in-hand.

Animal research and smaller studies in humans have linked prolonged light exposure with weight gain.

The findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that light at night may be bad for health.

The new findings, published today (June 10) in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that "reducing exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping might be a useful strategy to prevent obesity", study lead author Dr. Yong-Moon Park, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and senior author Dale Sandler, chief of the NIEHS's Epidemiology Branch, told Live Science in an email. But new research points to another potential cause: how much light you're exposed to at night.

At their first check-in, the women were asked to report on their light exposure while they slept - whether they kept lights on in their rooms or in other rooms, whether light shone in through the windows, whether they slept with a TV on, and even from low-light sources such as clock radios. 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.

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In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from almost 44,000 women ages 35 to 74 from all 50 US states.

The researchers, from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the USA, followed 43,722 women aged between 35 and 74 years old, over a period of at least five years.

One of the key findings was that women who slept with a television or a light on in the room were 17 percent more likely to have gained five kilograms (11 pounds) or more during the study period.

They were also 22% more likely to become newly overweight and 33% more likely to become newly obese.

Other possibilities were that light acts as a "chronic stressor" disrupting the release of stress hormones such as glucocorticoids that play a part in regulating food intake, or that there may be another mechanism at work that affects metabolism directly.

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