A clinical study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that sleeping in total darkness can affect your insulin and metabolism – meaning you may actually gain weight if you aren’t sleeping well.
Conversely, getting a good night’s sleep can have the opposite effect, but exactly how your sleep affects your metabolism is only now coming to light.
One recent study found that people who experienced the recommended amount of sleep saw a 17.2 percent decrease in body fat, versus only 7.1 percent in those who didn’t.
Now, a new study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has linked the impact of light exposure at night on your metabolism, and there’s at least one clear takeaway: If you’re looking to lose weight, you want your sleep space as dark as humanly possible.
The key to the study was how the participant’s not only slept better in complete darkness, but had lower levels of insulin. This is significant, because insulin is the hormonal signal to the body to increase weight. The higher your insulin levels are, the more weight you gain, regardless of how much you eat or exercise.
“Our preliminary findings show that a single night of light exposure during sleep acutely impacts measures of insulin resistance,” lead author Ivy Cheung Mason said in a statement. “Light exposure overnight during sleep has been shown to disrupt sleep, but these data indicate that it may also have the potential to influence metabolism.”
What does it all mean?
It’s clear that you really can gain weight just by not getting enough sleep. But perhaps more importantly, the significance of sleeping in complete darkness and limiting light exposure before bed can’t be ignored. So if you’re living in the city where there’s tons of artificial light, consider some curtains or a sleeping mask!
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