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Light at night is making you fat
The world is getting fatter…………… and unfortunately, as a person living in the world, you’re also getting fatter.
For years, experts have attributed fat problems to
EATING TOO MUCH and MOVING TOO LITTLE
But, if you’ve ever tried to lose weight, by eating less and moving more, you’ve probably found that, it is a little more complicated.
There is more to it
Acknowledging the inadequacies of the model, a host of other factors have been implicated in obesity. Lack of sleep is one such factor………..
In today’s 24/7 lifestyle, getting enough sleep can be a challenge………
- for some – there is just TOO MUCH TO DO and not enough time to do it. Sleep is expendable.
- for others – it’s a money thing, their job requires them to work THE NIGHT SHIFT,
- while for others – they climb into bed to enjoy a good night’s sleep, but sleep never comes
But, this is not you……………
You’re a regular Jo, most nights, you climb into bed and ……………you’re off to dreamland. The shrill of the alarm clock rudely awakens you, eight or so hours later.
Sleep issues don’t explain your weight issue !
Not so fast…….
A team of researchers from Oxford University have found that you don’t have to have sleep problems per se, to have what is happening in the bedroom, impact your weight ………
NOT SLEEPING in the dark – might be making you fat.
How dark is your bedroom ?
This was the question the team asked 113 000 British women, aged between 16 and 103 years.
Yes….. how cool, they gathered data on someone who was a 103 years old. But she was the exception, the average age of the ladies in the study was 47.2 years. The ladies were all involved with the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity, in one way or another.
The ladies could pick from one of three options
- It is light enough to see across the room, but not to read
- It is light enough to see your hand, but not to see across the room
- It is too dark to see your hand or you wear a sleep mask
How would you answer ?
It’s not so dark….
29.6 % of ladies were sleeping “IN THE LIGHT”.
The rest of the ladies, light levels were pretty low, but sleeping in the pitch dark was relatively rare, only 20.8 % of ladies could see NOTHING in their bedroom.
So what ?
Weight status please
Since the main objective of this study, is to identify breast cancer risk factors, and being overweight IS a known risk for breast cancer, measuring weight was a priority.
Along with their weight, ladies were asked to measure their waist and hip circumference, so the researchers had
BMI, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio at their disposal.
They crunched the numbers………
Women sleeping in bedrooms with lots of light at night, were more likely to be overweight or obese.
Are you sure ?
As part of the study, participants had been asked a whole host of other questions ……..
- Did they drink ?
- Did they smoke ?
- Did they have little ones under the age of 5 ?
- Did they work night shift ?
- When did they sleep ?
- Did they work out ?
Night shift work, odd sleep times and little ones are all sleep disruptors. So the team did the calculation again, using statistical techniques to account for these factors.
Women sleeping in bedrooms with “lots” of light at night, were more likely to be overweight or obese.
The more light at night, the more likely they were to be overweight.
The light-dark cycle is the main synchronizer of your circadian clock, with melatonin, your night valet, running the night time show. And the night shift is when fat burning happens !
Since melatonin abhors light………….
Light in the bedroom, is going to cramp his style.
And this, can impact body chemistry.
Black outs required
This study cannot say for sure that exposure to light at night, whilst sleeping will make you fat. It’s not that kind of study.
But it hints that light at night, is not ideal.
One of the problems with urban living, is the neighbourhood ends up being lit up, like a Christmas tree. It improves security, but it is disruptive………… not just for the birds and other critters living in the neighbourhood, but it negatively impacts the human residents, too.
Make the effort to black out your bedroom.
If you can’t block out the light, by closing doors and hanging thick lined curtaining or blinds, slap on an eye mask, so you limit the light you’re being exposed to.
Electronic devices spit blue light. Since…………..blue light is something that in nature, is a morning thing, you’re more likely to have trouble falling asleep.
If SLEEP eludes you, do a head count of who is in the bedroom. Sharing your bedroom with your pets, can end up impacting the quality of your sleep.
If you want to avoid a sleepless night, you need melatonin to tuck you into bed, but your night valet is technophobic – so dim that mobile device at bedtime.