Many allow too much light in their bedroom at night, which can make sleep more elusive, as light exposure prevents the release of melatonin — a hormone that helps regulate your waking and sleeping cycles. And once your sleep cycle is disrupted, most other health problems tend to be aggravated. As reported by Time Magazine.
According to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, research participants who slept in the darkest rooms were 21 percent less likely to be obese than those sleeping in the lightest rooms. That connection is tied to the main sleep hormone … melatonin.
Too little melatonin means that we don’t properly get into sleep mode, which you can also think of as slimming mode. Lose the night light and look into getting some blackout curtains for a darkness-induced boost to your weight loss goals.
Poor sleep is also associated with overeating, due to the effect it has on the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin, and the situation can be further aggravated by lack of bright light exposure first thing in the morning. Research35 shows that dim lighting in the early morning following a night of sleep deprivation results in reduced leptin levels and increased ghrelin. Those who got blue light exposure after a night of poor sleep had higher leptin levels.
So once you get up, be sure to open the blinds and greet the morning sun. If it’s still dark outside, such as in wintertime, use full spectrum light bulbs. Other research shows that spending at least 30 to 60 minutes in bright natural sunlight around noon will help “anchor” your circadian rhythm, thereby making it easier to fall asleep at night.
Once the sun sets, avoid bright artificial lighting and blue light-emitting items like TV’s, cell phones, computers and tablets, all of which inhibit melatonin production and impede sleep. As noted by Time Magazine:
“A study in the Pediatric Obesity journal found that kids who bask in the nighttime glow of a TV or computer tend to have poorer lifestyle habits and are less likely to get enough rest. Researchers found that students with access to one electronic device were 1.47 times as likely to be overweight as kids with no devices in the bedroom. That increased to 2.57 times for kids with three devices — so leave your iPad in the living room.”
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