30 Studies to change your life. This week we’re talking sleep.
We all get that it’s harder to fall asleep with the lights on, but you probably don’t realize the scary ways that light can affect you even ONCE YOU”RE ALSEEP.
Research published last year had older adults wear trackers that measured their activity, sleep, and ambient light. Roughly half had NO light while in bed at night, and half had a little bit.
The “light at night” group had less total sleep time, sleep efficiency, and woke up more.
But that’s not all.
The light group also were twice as likely to have diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
“But Avisha, that’s just a correlation! Maybe those issues made it harder for people to sleep, and more likely to fall asleep with the TV on!”
I can tell you’re an astute science seeker! But I gotchu.
The researchers had the same question, so they ran another study.
They had young, healthy adults sleep in rooms with controlled lighting, either very dim or the level you’d get from a TV or a street light through open curtains.
The group with the light had less deep sleep and REM sleep, a higher heart rate, lower heart rate variability, and the next morning they showed increased insulin resistance, meaning their body couldn’t handle carbs and sugar as well. Overall, it seemed like the light activated their sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight response. But the light group didn’t FEEL sleepier the next day. So even if you THINK you sleep fine with your TV on, you might not realize the subtle health effects that could build up over time.
Your homework: turn off the TV. Get blackout blinds. And cover those bright LEDs with electrical tape. Report back when done.