If you thought sleeping with the television on was a harmless habit, think again. New research published by JAMA Internal Medicine says that snoozing with an artificial light on nearby can cause you to pack on the pounds.
Here’s how it works: The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) surveyed 43,722 women ages 35-74 on whether they slept with a television on, a light outside the room, a small nightlight, or no light present. The participants were not shift workers, daytime sleepers, or pregnant at the time of the study.
The women were ask to report changes in weight, height, BMI, waist and hip measurement to the researchers for five years. Researchers then analyzed the data, and the findings are unsettling.
Researchers found that those who slept with a television on were by far worse off than their darkness dozing peers. Television sleepers were 17% more likely to gain weight — approximately 11 pounds more!
The NIEHS reported that small night lights were not an issue, but pretty much any other sources of artificial light create a disruption to your body.
“[This research] is the first to find an association between any exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping and weight gain in women,” the study states. “The results suggest that cutting off lights at bedtime could reduce women’s chances of becoming obese.”
While the amount of weight might be surprising, the science shouldn’t be. Light sources surprise our sleep hormone (melatonin) and messes up out circadian rhythms. It’s long been reported that poor sleep contributes to weight gain. Not getting enough sleep can cause sugar cravings and increase appetite.
The study highlights the importance of a good night’s sleep, and should wake up women who sleep with the television with a clear message about an easy way to improve their health.
Also read: Drink Cherry Juice Before Bed for a Better Sleep.