ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Turn lights off when sleeping at night to avoid obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure

Exposure to light during sleep increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure for older adults. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares what sleep experts say about the health hazards even small amounts of light may cause.

Night lights
Keeping lights on in the bedroom while you sleep may increase your risk of disease.
We are part of The Trust Project.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — If you use a night light or leave a light on in the hallway outside your bedroom while you sleep, you might want to think about turning them off. A study from Northwestern University shows that exposure to light at night increases an older person's risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Researchers say any type of light is linked to higher disease rates.

“Whether it be from one’s smartphone, leaving a TV on overnight or light pollution in a big city, we live among an abundant number amount of artificial sources of light that are available 24 hours of a day,” said Dr. Minjee Kim, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Older adults already are at higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so we wanted to see if there was a difference in frequencies of these diseases related to light exposure at night.”

The researchers have tips on how to keep your sleep space dark, including:

  1. Turn all lights off. If you need to have a light on for safety, make sure it's dim and closer to the floor.
  2. Pay attention to color. Choose lights that are less stimulating, such as amber or red/orange. Don’t use white or blue light.
  3. Block it out. Blackout shades or eye masks may help to block out outside light. Move your bed to keep your face away from an outside source you can't control.

The study is published in the journal SLEEP.

ADVERTISEMENT

Health_Fusion-1400x1400.jpg

Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

MORE HEALTH FUSION:
Ticks can survive a Minnesota winter, but their go time is March through October. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams goes in-depth with a tick expert who helped discover two pathogens that ticks can carry. And both of them can make you sick.

What to read next
For decades, the drug industry has yelled bloody murder each time Congress considered a regulatory measure that threatened its profits. But the hyperbole reached a new pitch in recent weeks as the Senate moved to adopt modest drug pricing negotiation measures in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Sanford Health’s Program for Addiction Recovery provided Tanner Lene a way to connect to a heritage he’d left largely unexplored, as he began to learn Ojibwe and join classes taught by elders and knowledge keepers on traditional medicines and art.
"Minding Our Elders" columnist Carol Bradley Bursack says distance makes keeping track of your parents' health harder, but barring dementia, they get to choose where they live.
The clinic, with offices in Duluth and Cloquet, offers therapy, psychiatry, substance use disorder treatment, treatment-resistant depression programming, walk-in appointment openings and other services.