WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) – Keeping your bedroom dark not only helps you get a good night’s sleep, but can significantly lower your chances of developing three major health problems, suggests a new study.
Older men and women who used night lights, or left their TV, smartphone or tablet in the room, were more likely to be obese, and have high blood pressure and diabetes, compared to adults who were not exposed to light at night.
“Maybe even a small amount of light at night is not so benign, it can be harmful,” said lead author Dr. Minjee Kim, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine in Chicago.
However, they warned that the new study does not prove that exposure to light during sleep causes any of these health conditions, only that there may be a link.
And, Kim said, there may be a biological explanation outside of disturbed sleep that is lightly linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
“It’s not natural to see these lights at night,” Kim said. “Light actually makes up some of the parts of the brain that tell our body that it’s day to night. So those signals are distorted in a way, because the circadian signal is attenuated, and so on. time is having an effect on our health. “
That, she said, can shed light over time on metabolic and heart disease.
Kim and her colleagues looked at more than 550 participants in the Chicago Healthy Aging Study. The 63- to 84-year-olds wore appliances that measured the amount of light in their bedrooms for more than a week.
Less than half had five hours in complete darkness while sleeping, the study found. The others were exposed to some light even in the darkest five hours of the day – mostly in the middle of their sleep at night.
The researchers said they did not know if obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure encourage people to sleep with a light on or if the light led to the development of the conditions. But, she added, some people with foot numbness due to diabetes may want to use a night light to help prevent falls if they have to use the bathroom at night.