Scientists from Northwestern University found that keeping your bedroom dark not only helps you get a good night’s sleep, but may strongly reduce the risks of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
They found older men and women who used night lights or left their TV, smartphone, or tablet on in the room were more likely to be obese, and have high blood pressure and diabetes.
The research is published in the journal Sleep and was conducted by Dr. Minjee Kim et al.
In the study, the team looked at more than 550 participants in the Chicago Healthy Aging Study. The 63- to 84-year-olds wore devices that measured the amount of light in their bedrooms over a week.
They found fewer than half had five hours in complete darkness as they slept. The others were exposed to some light even during the darkest five hours of the day—usually in the middle of their sleep at night.
The results add to a growing body of scientific evidence showing the importance of the body’s circadian clock and sleep to overall health, particularly among older adults.
The researchers say that it’s not natural to see those lights at night. Light actually turns off some of the parts in the brain that tell our body it’s daytime versus nighttime.
So those signals are messed up in a way, because the circadian signal is weakened, and over time, that has implications for health.
The team also says they don’t know if obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure prompt people to sleep with a light on or if the light led to the development of the conditions.
But some people with foot numbness due to diabetes may want to use a night light to help prevent falls when they have to use the bathroom at night.
If you care about sleep quality, please read studies about herb that could help you sleep well at night, and drugs that could lower severity of sleep apnea by one third.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about statin drugs that could do double duty on heart disease and cancer, and results showing what you eat plays a big role in chronic liver disease, liver cancer.
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