Sleeping with the TV on may make you gain weight

Modesto Morganelli
Июня 11, 2019

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, provocative but preliminary USA research suggests.

Women exposed to artificial light at night were more likely to gain weight and become obese or overweight over the next five years, according to a study of nearly 44,000 people.

"Exposure to artificial light at night may alter hormones and other biological processes in ways that raise the risk of health conditions like obesity".

"Humans are genetically adapted to a natural environment consisting of sunlight during the day and darkness at night", said study co-author Chandra Jackson, PhD, from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, in a statement. But new research points to another potential cause: how much light you're exposed to at night.

The researchers note that exposure to artificial light while sleeping might reflect other unhealthy behaviours, such as a sedentary lifestyle, and socioeconomic disadvantage.

Although the new findings aren't conclusive, reducing your exposure to light and night may not be a bad idea.

Sandler said it's likely similar results would be found in men. "Further prospective and interventional studies could help elucidate this association and clarify whether lowering exposure to ALAN while sleeping can promote obesity prevention".

In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from almost 44,000 women ages 35 to 74 from all 50 USA states. Participants' weight was recorded at the start of the study, and they were followed for an average of 5.7 years. Those who reported sleeping at night in a room with a television on or a light were more likely to gain at least 4.9 kgs over about five years than those who slept in darkness.

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

The findings held even after the researchers took into account factors such as where participants lived (in an urban, suburban or rural area), their household income, their level of caffeine and alcohol consumption, and any experiences of depression or high stress.

"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".

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