This Common Bedtime Habit Is Making You Gain Weight

Sometimes, the only fix for a long, hard work week is many hours of Netflix in bed – preferably, until you fall asleep. But if this study is anything to go by, you might wanna rethink your Friday plans, folks.

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have just linked snoozing while exposed to artificial light with weight gain.

Their findings were based off a questionnaire filled out by 43,722 American women over a five-year period. The participants were asked to self-report any fluctuations in their weight, height, waist/hip circumference and BMI over the span of the study.

Interestingly, those who slept with the lights or TV on in the bedroom were up to 17 per cent more likely to gain 5kgs or more. A small night light or light coming in from outside, however, wasn’t found to have an effect.

The study’s co-author Dr Chandra Jackson puts this down to our circadian rhythm or body clock.

“Humans are genetically adapted to a natural environment consisting of sunlight during the day and darkness at night,” she explained. “Exposure to artificial light at night may alter hormones and other biological processes in ways that raise the risk of health conditions like obesity.”

Our appetite may also be to blame: disrupted shut eye decreases our levels of leptin – a hormone that suppresses satiety and makes us hungrier during the day. Plus, poor sleep – even just for a night – can mess with our blood sugar and metabolism. 

The takeaway? Switch everything off before bed – no exceptions. Your sleep quality (and waistline) will reap the rewards.

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