Could Sleeping with a Light On Lead to Weight Gain for Women?

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Those of you who are working diligently to maintain a healthy body weight may want to turn out the lights and TV when it’s time to go to bed. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has just released a report that suggested sleeping with the TV or a light on can make you gain weight. This association between the exposure to artificial light during the nighttime hours and the potential for weight gain may have some people altering their sleep habits.

Researchers from the NIEHS studied women who slept with their TV or a nightlight on and found that their test subjects had a 17 percent chance of gaining more than 10 pounds over a five-year window. In addition, they had a 33 percent chance of becoming overweight. The study was published by the JAMA Internal Medicine medical journal on Monday, June 10, 2019, and has since become the latest in a long line of discussions around healthy weight management and lifestyle.

Could Sleeping with a Light On Lead to Weight Gain for Women?

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“We are in the middle of an obesity epidemic in the United States and the things that we usually think about for obesity prevention are hard for people to do — eat a better diet, get more exercise — and we don’t seem to be making a dent,” Dale Sandler, a senior author of the study and an NIEHS senior investigator, told “If these study findings are true and if they can be replicated then it’s a very easy public health message to turn off the lights when you’re sleeping.”

Texas Health and Human Services shared the 2016 statistics for the statewide obesity rates to their website. The prevalence among the Lone Star State population ranges from 29.7 to 43.2 percent, and varies based on region. East Texas came in at the highest rate (between 39.1 and 43.2) with respect to percentages of overweight populace.

Could Sleeping with a Light On Lead to Weight Gain for Women?

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Close to 44K women throughout the U.S. participated in the study. The age range for the test subjects was from 35 to 74. Study data included detailed sleeping habits for each woman. Subsequently, their choices for sleeping with or without a nightlight and with or without their TV on were integral components. Likewise, their body mass index (BMI) was also monitored. Although the researchers stated that more work has yet to be done due to the study limitations, such preliminary indications may be cause enough for those looking to lead their healthiest life to turn out the lights when they hit the hay.