Beware! Your Bedroom can Make you Obese

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 02, 2014

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Rooms Can Cause ObesityIf your increasing weight is giving your sleepless nights, look around in your room and you may find the culprit.

A team of researchers at the Institute of Cancer research in London found that women tend to gain weight if their bedroom was lit enough to let them see across the room at night.

The study was conducted on 1,13,000 women and was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

During the study, women were given options and were asked to rate the amount of light present in their bedrooms.

The options included:

  • Light enough to read
  • Light enough to see across the room, but not read
  • Light enough to see your hand in front of you, but not across the room
  • Too dark to see your hand or you wear a mask

The answers given by the women were then compared to several measures of obesity. The body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist circumference were found to be increased in women who had properly lit rooms at night.

Institute of Cancer Research professor Anthony Swerdlow told BBC “in this very large group of people there is an association between reported light exposure at night and overweight and obesity.

“But there is not sufficient evidence to know if making your room darker would make any difference to your weight.

“There might be other explanations for the association, but the findings are intriguing enough to warrant further scientific investigation.”

The possible reason behind this can be that the light present in the room can disturb the body clock. This means that the body is accustomed to be active at day time and rest at night and when it is exposed to light at night time, the entire body clock gets disrupted.

Exposure to artificial light is believed to disturb the body clock by delaying the production of sleep hormone melatonin.
Surrey Sleep Centre professor Derk-Jan Dijk said that it wouldn’t be harmful if the bedrooms could be made darker.

He told BBC “people in general are not aware of the light present in their bedroom, I think people should assess their bedroom and see how easy it would be to make it darker”.

He added that the source of lights which can disrupt sleep could be an alarm clock or standby lights on electrical equipments like televisions etc.

He concluded by saying “overall this study points to the importance of darkness”.

The study has been funded by Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the findings have been derived from a long-term study which was conducted to understand the risk factors for breast cancer.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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