Sleeping With The TV On Could Make You Gain Weight

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

"If these study findings are true and if they can be replicated then it's a very easy public health message to turn off the lights when you're sleeping".

Sleeping amid the artificial glow of televisions, laptops, smartphones and even lamps may increase the likelihood of female obesity, a new study finds.

The study questionnaire asked whether the women slept with no light, a small nightlight, light outside of the room, or a light or television on in the room.

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.

"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.

Exposure to blue light at night messes with your Circadian Rhythm aka your body clock.

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The researchers considered several other compounding factors, like sleep deprivation, which could have played a role in the association between artificial light exposure at night and weight gain.

The participants self-reported the amount of artificial light they were exposed to at night - including from phone screens and TVs.

Keeping a light on might also result in poorer sleep. "It seems reasonable to advise people not to sleep with lights on", Park and Sandler said.

Exposure to artificial light was positively associated with a weight gain or 5kg or more.

More research is needed to better understand the link and determine whether reducing light at night may prevent obesity, the authors concluded.

After nearly six years of follow-up, women who slept with a television or light on in the room were 22 percent more likely to be overweight and 33 percent more likely to be obese than women who slept in total darkness without even a nightlight or the glow from an alarm clock. However, their findings did not change when analyses controlled for characteristics that may be associated with exposure to light at night. Many - about 17,000 - slept with a nightlight in the room, while more than 13,000 left a light on outside the bedroom and about 5,000 slept with a television or light on in the bedroom. 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.

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