If you’ve been working hard on that ‘summer bod’ but not seeing the results you expected – the answer might be right here – falling asleep with the TV on could be making you gain weight.
According to scientists, women who are exposed to artificial light in the evenings are more likely to gain weight. A study followed almost 44,000 women for five years and those who left lights on at night gained up to 11lbs (5kg).
It turns out that staying up all night watching TV and eating isn’t good for your health? Credit: Flickr
The study, by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, North Carolina, only studied women aged 35-74, with no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease, and also made sure they didn’t work shifts, sleep in the day and weren’t pregnant when it started.
The participants self-reported the amount of artificial light they were exposed to at night – including from phone screens and TVs.
A few potential culprits to weight gain were at play. For example – the women who slept with the light or TV on were 22 percent more likely to put on weight – this could be because a lack of sleep makes you more hungry thanks to hormones that are released when you’re tired. On top of this, a shorter sleep simply means more time awake, and therefore more time to eat.
Researchers also noted other factors, like exposure to artificial light at night can be reflective of unhealthy behaviour, such as eating badly, sedentary lifestyle or stress, and socioeconomic disadvantage.
Although more studies are needed to cement the concept, experts say it makes ‘perfect biological sense’ that having blue light around you at night could make you hungrier.
Exposure to blue light at night messes with your Circadian Rhythm aka your body clock. Credit: Flickr
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Professor Malcolm von Schantz, from the University of Surrey, said: “We know that light in the late evening will delay our body clocks. We know from experimental studies in people that light at night affects our metabolism in ways that are consistent with increased risk of metabolic syndrome.
“What is novel with this paper is that it is a longitudinal study comparing the weight of the same individuals at baseline and more than five years later.
“These new findings won’t change the advice to maintain good sleep hygiene, and avoid light and electronic distractions in the bedroom, but they add further strength to the case for this advice.”
Essentially, if you’ve got a holiday coming up – stop staying up late bingeing on TV and eating shit, and that summer bod could still be yours.
Featured Image Credit: Pexels