Light on at bedtime can cause obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, study finds

The researchers found that the exposure to light while sleeping at night may increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. The conclusion is found in a study by the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University, USA, published in the scientific journal SLEEP. The information comes from The globe.

Specialists followed 552 elderly people, between 63 and 84 years old, for seven days. From measuring the lighting of the room they slept in, it was identified that less than half (255) slept completely in the dark – the recommended.

They found that the incidence of metabolic diseases she was taller in the group that slept with some light in the bedroom. In this section, 40.7% were obese, a rate that dropped to 26.7% in the group that slept in complete darkness. With diabetes, the result was similar, present at 17.8% in the first group against 9.8% in the second. With hypertension, it was 73% versus 59.2%.

O the study is “observational” – that is, it indicates a relationship between enlightenment and disease, but not a direct cause. Even so, scientists believe there are biological reasons for this link.

“It’s not natural to see these lights at night. Light turns off some of the parts of the brain that tell our bodies whether it’s day or night. So these signals that it sends are confusing in a way, because the circadian cycle is weakened and over time that has implications for our health.

Tips to reduce risk

Northwestern University head of sleep medicine and one of the study’s authors, Phyllis Zee, warns that “it’s important for people to avoid or minimize the amount of light exposure during sleep.” , in a statement she gave to help in the process:

  • Don’t turn on the lights. If you must have a light on (which older people may want to be safe), leave a dim light closer to the floor.
  • Choose the right color. Amber or red/orange light is less stimulating for the brain. Therefore, do not use white or blue light and keep it away from the sleeping area.
  • Use blackout blinds and curtains. When it is not possible to control indoor and outdoor lighting, one tip is to use eye masks and curtains called blackouts, which can more effectively block light from entering the room.
  • Change the position of the bed. Arrange the bedroom so that the bed is in a position where light does not fall on the face, which increases the harm of nighttime lighting.

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