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Too Much Light at Night Linked to Obesity

Have you been steadily gaining weight despite the lack of changes to your eating habits or activity levels? Medical disorders and aging aside, exposure to excessive light at night may be the cause of your weight gain.

Recent findings in the US, UK, and Japan suggest that there may be a link between light at night (LAN) and obesity. Clinical studies with wide cross-sections of individuals revealed that high LAN exposure significantly corresponded with greater body mass index. Although there isn’t enough evidence to prove LAN is a direct cause of weight gain, there is enough to warrant further studies. Scientists plan to explore the following theories:

  1. Excessive exposure to artificial light from computers, televisions, cell phones, and other sources may interfere with your body’s internal clock and throw off your circadian rhythms. Since circadian rhythms affects hormones related to hunger and satiety, disruption could lead to unwanted weight gain.
  2. Too much LAN is thought to have a negative impact on melatonin production, which in turn could inhibit proper metabolism function. When metabolic processes are slowed, disturbed, or otherwise impeded, weight gain soon follows.

While there is no conclusive scientific evidence that fully supports the idea that LAN and BMI are causally linked, it wouldn’t hurt to sleep with little to no light in the room!