Sleeping with your TV on could make you gain weight, study says

Women exposed to artificial light at night were more likely to gain weight

After just about six years of tracking, women who fell asleep with a light or television on in the room were 22% bound to be overweight and 33% bound to be hefty than the ones who dozed in complete dark without even a nightlight or the shine from a morning timer. Previous studies in animals have suggested that exposure to light at night may disrupt sleep and circadian rhythms, alter eating behaviors, and promote weight gain, the authors said.

New research has found that going to sleep with your TV on or laptop open may put you at risk of weight gain.

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Artificial light has been shown to hamper sleep quality, and that's one of the reasons why blue-light-dimming features have crept into our mobile devices and computers.

Globally, 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organization.

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.

A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy, while 25 to 29.9 is overweight, 30 or above is obese and 40 or higher is severely or morbidly obese.


"In our study exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping was associated with weight gain both in women with insufficient sleep - less than seven hours - and women with sufficient sleep - seven to nine hours", said Park, a researcher with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the National Institutes of Health in Research Park Triangle, North Carolina. That's because artificial light at night can throw off your body clock and might be mixing up your metabolism causing you to gain weight. "This study highlights the importance of artificial light at night and gives women who sleep with lights or the television on a way to improve their health". "It seems reasonable to advise people not to sleep with lights on", Park and Sandler said.

'We know that light in the late evening will delay our body clocks.

Lack of sleep has always been associated with obesity, but until now, the association between artificial light exposure while sleeping and weight gain has been unknown. Sleeping with a light on outside the room was associated with only slight increases in weight.

Commenting on the paper, Malcolm von Schantz, a professor of Chronobiology at the University of Surrey in Britain said: "What is novel with this paper is that it is a longitudinal study comparing the weight of the same individuals at baseline and more than five years later". We know from experimental studies in people that light at night affects our metabolism in ways that are consistent with increased risk of metabolic syndrome.

"These new findings won't change the advice to maintain good sleep hygiene, and avoid light and electronic distractions in the bedroom, but they add further strength to the case for this advice".

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