How to lose weight in sleep

Increase Melatonin Secretion

Woman sleeping

Woman sleeping

Scientists now have a smoking gun evidence that leaving a television or other light on in the room is a definite weight-gain factor, according to the National Institutes of Health publishing online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Theirs is the first study, they say, to find an association between any exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping, and weight gain in women. The results suggest that cutting off lights at bedtime could reduce women’s chances of becoming obese.

Read: Good Sleepers Burn 20% more calories

The study used data from 43,722 women in the Sister Study that examines risk factors for breast cancer and other diseases. The participants, aged 35-74 years, had no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease and were not shift workers, daytime sleepers, or pregnant when the study began. The study questionnaire asked whether the women slept with no light, a small nightlight, light outside of the room, or a light or television on in the room. The original question was related to the fact that artificial light inhibits the pineal gland nighttime secretion of melatonin, a highly protective, anti-aging hormone that actively protects breast cells.

TV Watching Horrors

The results varied with the level of artificial light at night exposure. For example, using a small nightlight was not associated with weight gain, whereas women who slept with a light or television on were 17% more likely to have gained 5 kilograms, approximately 11 pounds, or more over the follow-up period. The association with having light coming from outside the room was more modest. But that was a problem too.

Read: Sleep, The Only Time That Repairs Aging

Beyond Poor Sleep

While having televisions on is cited as a source of poor sleep, this factor alone was not the cause of the excess weight gain. The women with televisions on gained even more weight than if poor sleep alone were their nemesis. The combination of poor sleep plus artificial light is greater in effect.

Read: Melatonin Regulates Sleep

“Although poor sleep by itself was associated with obesity and weight gain, it did not explain the associations between exposure to artificial light while sleeping and weight,” said corresponding author Dale Sandler, Ph.D., chief of the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of NIH.

Alters Hormone

For many who live in urban environments, light at night is more common and should be considered. Streetlights, store front neon signs, and other light sources can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin and the natural 24-hour light-dark cycle of circadian rhythms.

Read: Lose Weight While Sleeping

“Humans are genetically adapted to a natural environment consisting of sunlight during the day and darkness at night,” said co-author Chandra Jackson, PhD, head of the NIEHS Social and Environmental Determinants of Health Equity Group. “Exposure to artificial light at night may alter hormones and other biological processes in ways that raise the risk of health conditions like obesity.”

What To Do

Turn off lights.

Put cell phone away where its light is blocked or turn it off completely if you don’t have to be on 24/7 kid watch or something like that.

Turn off the television and spare your brain the pain.

Youtube offers mantra, Tibetan, and other soothing music plus sound walls made of waterfall, and other natural emanations that calm.

Herbs are potent sleep helpers.

Try chamomile with passionflower and lemon balm.

Ashwaghanda can be consumed as a tea or taken as a root extract an hour before bedtime. This Indian, shade-happy plant offers an euphoric escape that is more pronounced than valerian, which is the more immediate sleep inducer. Both valerian and ashwaghanda rely on their prized roots.

Reference Yong-Moon Mark Park, Alexandra J. White, Chandra L. Jackson, Clarice R. Weinberg, Dale P. Sandler. Association of Exposure to Artificial Light at Night While Sleeping With Risk of Obesity in Women. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0571
comments powered by Disqus