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Medicine Science

The Light Might Make You Heavy 138

Rambo Tribble writes: "Writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers have found that sleeping with high ambient light levels may contribute to obesity (abstract). In a survey of 113,000 women, a high correlation was found between higher bedroom light levels and increased propensity to be overweight or obese. Excess light in the sleeping environment has long been known to adversely affect melatonin production and circadian rhythms. It is posited that such an interference with the 'body clock' may be behind these results. Although there is not yet enough evidence to call this a smoking gun, as one researcher put it, 'Overall this study points to the importance of darkness.'"
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The Light Might Make You Heavy

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  • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Friday May 30, 2014 @01:58PM (#47130313)

    Yes, because a lack of sleep is the #1 reason why people don't exercise and eat right.

    Give me a break.

    Maybe it's not the #1 reason, but why couldn't it be a significant reason that we might consider?

    People who don't sleep enough or don't get enough "restful" sleep often have all sorts of problems -- increased stress, difficulty in learning and retaining information, impaired judgment -- and it's correlated with all sorts of things from depression to various chronic health problems. If the lack of sleep itself can't lead to obesity, surely some set of these factors (some of which are known to correlate with obesity, like stress and depression) can contribute to it.

    Next up, the new diet craze for lazy people. Blackout blinds.

    I get you don't think this is useful, but why do you have to make stupid remarks? Obviously obesity rates have been rising significantly in the past few decades. There are a number of fairly obvious likely causes for this trend, but there may be many minor ones that have changed in recent decades that could be contributing -- like, for example, the amount of "light pollution" these days, which probably contributes to ambient light in bedrooms (along with decreased numbers of people in rural areas where light pollution is scarce), coupled with increased tendencies to leave various electronic devices on all the time.

    Who cares if it's the "#1 reason why people don't exercise and eat right"? If it's in the top 20, it can probably be helpful to know it, and for some people, it could actually be leading to other health problems, including obesity.

    I know there's this common assumption that diet and exercise is only about willpower, but the reality of life is that there are all sorts of psychological and physical factors which can make it easier or harder to pursue healthy habits. And being exhausted a lot of the time is not generally conducive to such habits. Obviously for many people blackout blinds are not the magic ticket to a thin body -- but combined with some other things, better rest could make it easier for some people to live in a more healthy manner.

  • eh, not so sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday May 30, 2014 @01:59PM (#47130319) Journal

    This seems like a confusion of symptom and actual cause, when the root issue may be simply a lack of good sleep (for whatever reason).

    Our eyelids are not opaque, they definitely allow ambient light levels through. This would imply that perhaps sleeping with high ambient light, it's just harder to get good solid rest.
    I guess you could test this by checking brainwaves of people sleeping in the dark, and sleeping with bright lights on, and seeing if there's a difference in the 'depth' of sleep they reach.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM