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Sure, we don’t think much about leaving the TV on while we’re asleep but maybe we should. New findings seem to show that this kind of thing could be a serious factor in whether or not we gain more weight as females.

Research that was recently published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found a strong association between exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping and weight gain in females. These findings are the first of their kind and seem to bring forth a lot of questions. For their research, the team from NIH used data from over forty thousand women who were used during the Sister Study to examine risk factors for weight gain and obesity.

This was perfect as it held information on whether or not women included slept with no lights on, a nightlight of some sort, television going, or something else of the sort. Using information also taken of each of these women’s BMI’s and weight gain as time passed they were able to determine that artificial light was in some ways playing a role. It has an impact on women regarding obesity risks and most would never stop to think about it.

Their results are listed as follows on JAMA’s website:

Among the population of 43 722 women (mean [SD] age, 55.4 [8.9] years), having any ALAN exposure while sleeping was positively associated with a higher prevalence of obesity at baseline, as measured using BMI (PR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.02-1.03), WC (PR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.09-1.16), WHR (PR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.00-1.08), and WHtR (PR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.04-1.09), after adjusting for confounding factors, with P < .001 for trend for each measure. Having any ALAN exposure while sleeping was also associated with incident obesity (RR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.06-1.34). Compared with no ALAN, sleeping with a television or a light on in the room was associated with gaining 5 kg or more (RR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.08-1.27; P < .001 for trend), a BMI increase of 10% or more (RR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.02-1.26; P = .04 for trend), incident overweight (RR, 1.22; 95% CI,1.06-1.40; P = .03 for trend), and incident obesity (RR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.13-1.57; P < .001 for trend). Results were supported by sensitivity analyses and additional multivariable analyses including potential mediators such as sleep duration and quality, diet, and physical activity.

This meaning that exposure to artificial lighting while sleeping is something we need to be looking more into. It could be contributing to the development of more than what we are currently aware of. There is no denying that exposure to this kind of lighting can alter our hormones and other things of the sort so causing weight gain is not as outlandish as some would assume.

Perhaps this also means we shouldn’t be sleeping too closely to our cell phones either as they tend to light up throughout the night as well. Light coming from outside of the room was not as prominent in causing weight gain but those who sleep with the light on in the room or with just the TV on are at a 17 percent more likely to gain 11 pounds per five years.

What do you think about these findings? I for one am quite shocked as I sleep with the light on most nights myself. How do you sleep and will you be changing anything in the nights to come?