A recent study says that, for middle-aged and older women, sleeping with the lights or television on has been linked with higher chances of gaining weight and eventually obesity.
Researchers followed nearly 44,00 generally healthy women between aged 25 and 74. About 17,000 of them slept with a nightlight, while more than 13,000 left a light on in the bedroom and 5,000 slept with either the light or television on.
When the study began, the participants were typically overweight – but their body mass index (BMI) indicated they weren’t obese. After six years of follow-up, those who slept with either a TV or light were 22% more likely to be overweight and 33% more likely to be obese than all the other women.
Lead study author Dr. Yong-Moon Park from the National Institutes of Health in Research Park Triangle in North Carolina said that having artificial lights on were linked with weight gain and insufficient sleep, “Thus, reducing exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping adds an important tool for preventing weight gain.”
James Gangwisch from Columbia University in New York City, who wasn’t involved in the study, agrees with Park’s observations and advises that as much as possible any source of light must be turned off, including luminous clocks, diodes from devices, and outside lighting peering through curtains and windows.
According to the World Health Organization, 1.9 billion people in the world are overweight or obese; such conditions can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, joint disorders, and certain cancers.
A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy, while 25 to 29.9 is overweight, 30 or above is obese and 40 or higher is severely or morbidly obese. You can calculate for your BMI at this online calculator.
Story from Reuters.