Night Light Leads to Poor Eating Habits and Weight Gain

black table lamp on nightstand

It is common knowledge that being exposed to sunlight is good for your body and for lifting depression. Night light, however, has a negative effect on your body and may cause you to gain weight, according to a new study.

It turns out that light exposure or light pollution can be added to the list of risk factors for obesity. Both the industrial age and the technological age are to blame for the increased night light we are exposed to. Those who work nights or keep their TV or computer screen on overnight increase their risk for obesity because of their prolonged exposure to night light.

Night Light Caused Mice to Gain More Weight

Laura Fonken headed a study at Ohio State University. The results of the study were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study showed that light caused mice to eat at inappropriate times, which in turn caused them to gain weight. The findings were not based on a change in diet or exercise. The mice gained more weight, despite the fact that they didn’t consume any more food than the other group that wasn’t exposed to night light. It showed that when you eat is just as important as what you eat.

Fonken also found that the light at night disrupted their internal clocks and threw off their metabolism. Their biological clocks were reset and that sent messages to the brain to eat now. The hormone Melatonin was thrown out of balance, creating a need for more food.

The Role of Melatonin in Weight Loss

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s rhythm. It signals the brain when to sleep and when to wake up. The body produces more melatonin at night when its dark. You can experience trouble falling asleep or staying asleep if you have low melatonin levels.

Sleep is a key factor in weight loss. Not getting enough sleep can cause weight gain and defeat your weight loss efforts. Lack of sleep influences your eating patterns. Once your hormones are thrown out of balance by lack of sleep, you don’t feel satisfied by food and your cravings increase. Listening to your body’s signals makes you eat more, especially high carbs foods, which in turn leads to weight gain.

How to Reduce Exposure to Night Light and Promote Weight Loss

Based on what we’ve learned from this study, limiting our exposure to night light can help control weight. The first step is to minimize night light exposure by turning off electronics at night and sleeping in a dark room. The next step is to make sure your hormones are balanced so you can get a good night’s sleep to promote weight loss.

Exposure to sunlight during the day to increase vitamin D is helpful, as well as eating healthy on a regular schedule throughout the day. Keeping your hormones balanced allows your body to function properly and makes weight loss possible.

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