Bedroom Light at Night Might Boost Women's Weight
Using this information, the scientists were able to study obesity and weight gain in women exposed to artificial light at night with women who reported sleeping in dark rooms. "Further prospective and interventional studies could help elucidate this association and clarify whether lowering exposure to ALAN while sleeping can promote obesity prevention".
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.
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.
More than 43,000 women in the US ages 35 to 74 were observed in the study. The women were asked about their sleep habits and whether they slept in total darkness or in the presence of artificial light from a television or nightlight.
Researchers tracked women aged 35 to 47 across the United States and Puerto Rico over a five year period, measuring their body mass index (BMI).
Although the new findings aren't conclusive, reducing your exposure to light and night may not be a bad idea.
Sleeping with a cellphone, bright alarm clock on or a television next to your bed puts women at risk for weight gain, a new study found. That being said, a direct link between artificial light in a bedroom and overall weight gain is still a bit startling to see.
"Humans are genetically adapted to a natural environment consisting of sunlight during the day and darkness at night", Chandra Jackson, Ph.D. and co-author of the study explained, "Exposure to artificial light at night may alter hormones and other biological processes in ways that raise the risk of health conditions like obesity".
But their finding squares with other research suggesting artificial light disrupts our body's delicate chemistry, with grave knock-on effects. However, their findings did not change when analyses controlled for characteristics that may be associated with exposure to light at night.
Sandler said she is confident that the added weight wasn't from things like snacking at night, because the analysis accounted for other variables that could have led to weight gain such as diet, physical activity and sleep duration.
Lead author of the study, Yong-Moon Park, Ph.D., said, "Unhealthy high-calorie diet and sedentary behaviors have been the most commonly cited factors to explain the continuing rise in obesity".
"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".
Can't catch some sleep without the television on at night?