Sleeping With Lights on Can Make You Fat: Study

Friday, 30 May 2014 04:48 PM

By Nick Tate

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Looking for an easy way to shed a few pounds? Try making your bedroom as dark as possible. That's the upshot of a new study that suggests sleeping in a room with too much light increases the odds of piling on the pounds.
 
Researchers with the Institute of Cancer Research in London found women had larger waistlines if their bedroom was "light enough to see across" at night, BBC News reports.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, involved 113,000 women who were asked to rate the amount of light in their bedrooms at night as:
  • Light enough to read.
  • Light enough to see across the room, but not read.
  • Light enough to see your hand in front of you, but not across the room.
  • Too dark to see your hand or you wear a mask.
Their answers were then compared to several measures of obesity. The results showed Body Mass Index, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist circumference measurements were all higher in women with lighter rooms.
 
"In this very large group of people there is an association between reported light exposure at night and overweight and obesity," said Anthony Swerdlow, from the Institute of Cancer Research. "But there is not sufficient evidence to know if making your room darker would make any difference to your weight.
 
"There might be other explanations for the association, but the findings are intriguing enough to warrant further scientific investigation."
 
One possible explanation is that light is disrupts the body clock and the natural wake-sleep cycle and may delay production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
 
 

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