Bedroom Light at Night Might Boost Women's Weight

Henrietta Strickland
June 11, 2019

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

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

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

"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.

High light exposure may also "reflect a constellation of measures of socioeconomic disadvantage and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, all of which could contribute to weight gain and obesity".

The key takeaway relates to poor sleep, Katz suggested.

He added: "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". "It seems reasonable to advise people not to sleep with lights on", Park and Sandler said.

Previous studies have found a link between exposure to light at night and obesity in humans. The few studies that have been conducted in the general population have typically collected data at a single point in time, so researchers haven't been able to determine whether light at night is tied to weight gain over time.

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

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".

Women, beware: Sleeping with a light on or the TV going in your bedroom could make you put on weight.

They were also about 30 per cent more likely to become obese. "It's a pretty easy prevention effort to just turn off the lights before you go to bed", Ms Sandler said.

"For example, using a small nightlight was not associated with weight gain, whereas women who slept with a light or television on were", he explained.

Dozing off to late-night TV or sleeping with other lights on may mix up your metabolism and lead to weight gain and even obesity, a provocative but preliminary U.S. research suggests.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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