Light during sleep is linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure in older people

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Scientists from Northwestern Medicine found that older people who were exposed to any amount of light while sleeping at night were much more likely to be obese, and have high blood pressure and diabetes.

This is a real-world study showing the prevalence of any light exposure at night is linked to higher obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes among older adults.

The research is published in the journal Sleep and was conducted by Dr. Minjee Kim et al.

In the study, the team examined older men and women ages 63 to 84. Light exposure was measured with a wrist-worn device and tracked over seven days.

They were surprised to find that less than half of the 552 study participants consistently had a five-hour period of complete darkness per day.

The rest of the participants were exposed to some light even during their darkest five-hour periods of the day, which were usually in the middle of their sleep at night.

The team says they don’t know if obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure caused people to sleep with a light on, or if the light contributed to the development of these conditions.

People with these conditions may be more likely to use the bathroom in the middle of the night (with the light on) or may have another reason to keep the light on.

Someone with foot numbness because of diabetes may want to keep a night light on to reduce the risk of falls.

The team says it’s important for people to avoid or minimize the amount of light exposure during sleep.

They are considering an intervention study to test whether restoration of the natural light-dark cycle improves health outcomes such as cognition.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about noise that could boost your memory function and improve deep sleep, and avoid these 3 things in your dinner to sleep better tonight.

For more information about sleep, please see recent studies about a better way to treat insomnia and sleep apnea, and results showing this sleep pill can prevent kidney damage in obesity with diabetes.

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