Keeping Your TV on at Night May Lead to Weight Gain

Maricruz Casares
Junio 11, 2019

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.

The questionnaire included questions about exposure to light during sleep, and participants indicated whether they slept with no light, a small night light, light outside of the room, or a light or television on in the room.

Dozing off to late-night TV or sleeping with other lights on may mix up your metabolism and lead to weight gain and even obesity, provocative but preliminary US research suggests.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from almost 44,000 women ages 35 to 74 from all 50 US states.

Ashton suggests that women create a prime sleeping environment for themselves by using tools like eye masks and blackout shades or drapes.

In a study of more than 43,000 women, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found women who slept with an artificial light on in the bedroom also had an increased risk of weight gain and obesity.

Or light at night might have a more direct effect on obesity - exposure to light at night may disrupt levels of sleep or stress hormones, or directly affect metabolism, in ways that contribute to weight gain, they said. "It is a medical necessity on par with our food and our fitness". Participants fell between the ages of 35-74, had no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease, and were not shift workers, daytime sleepers, or pregnant at the time of the study.

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The women's weight and body mass index measurements were collected when the study began and compared with new figures from a follow-up visit five years later. The study questionnaire asked whether the women slept with no light, a small nightlight, light outside of the room, or a light or television on in the room. In fact, the data from a five-year period shows that those who have a TV or other light source on while they sleep gained over 10 pounds during that timeframe.

"Our findings. suggest that lowering exposure to [artificial night at light] while sleeping may be a useful intervention for obesity prevention", researchers said.

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.

Can't catch some sleep without the television on at night?

"Unhealthy high-calorie diet and sedentary behaviors have been the most commonly cited factors to explain the continuing rise in obesity", Park said. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.

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