Sleeping With The TV On Could Make You Gain Weight

Sleeping with TV on may make you gain weight	 	 	 			File Image

If you've been working hard on that "summer bod" but not seeing the results you expected - the answer might be right here - falling asleep with the TV on could be making you gain weight.

"What we've contributed is one simple thing that people might do in order to reduce their chances of becoming obese". The participants, aged 35-74 years, had no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease and were not shift workers, daytime sleepers, or pregnant when the study began. The women were asked about their sleep habits and whether they slept in total darkness or in the presence of artificial light from a television or nightlight. In the beginning of the research, women were commonly overweighed however not yet obese, as per their body mass index (BMI), a proportion of weight with respect to their height.

The study researchers found that women who reported exposure to light at night while sleeping were more likely to gain weight and become obese over almost six years, compared with women who were not exposed to light at night.

Daily exposure to light and darkness helps maintain our 24-hour body clock, which regulates metabolism, sleep-promoting hormones, blood pressure, and other bodily functions.

Compared to those not exposed to artificial light, women who slept with a light or television on in the same room were 17% more likely to gain 5kg or more over the next five years.

The analysis focused on data on sleep, light exposure and weight gain during the study, but not on breast cancer.

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They suggested that light could be suppressing melatonin production, which alters the circadian rhythm and eating patterns.

The study, which didn't include men, admits that there are other factors that could explain the weight gain, such as age, race, socioeconomic status, physical activity and calories consumed.

Lead author Yong-Moon (Mark) Park, M.D., Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in Sandler's group. "It seems reasonable to advise people not to sleep with lights on", Park and Sandler said.

Getting enough quality sleep every night is a tip at the top of any healthy living checklist, and lack of sleep has indeed been associated with a variety of conditions including obesity.

Published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, the research by a team at the National Institutes of Health is the first to find an association between artificial light exposure and weight gain in women.

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