It’s no surprise that sweets, fried foods, empty carbs and stress-eating can pack on the pounds. And as I recently wrote about, an impulsive personality, can even contribute to weight gain. But what about a computer?
Using your laptop, tablet or smart phone in the evening, or leaving a light on in your bedroom, could possibly add inches to your waistline, according to a study by Laura Fonken of Ohio State University.
When exposed to light at sleep time, mice were seen to gain 50% more weight than those who were kept in darkness in Fonken’s study. Both groups of mice were given the same amount of calories and activity over a period of eight weeks.
Astonishingly, the amount of light these mice were exposed to was not much: just the equivalent of having a lit screen on, such as a television in a dark room.
Mice are nocturnal creatures, so they generally eat at night. However, the mice subjected to abnormal light conditions showed different eating patterns, compared to the mice in the regular light and dark conditions.
“Mice exposed to light at night showed altered feeding behavior, eating more during the rest phase, which may be responsible for the increased weight gain,” says Fonken.
For humans, our timeless biorhythm is programmed to function in rhythm with everything else in nature. Night is supposed to be dark — a time for us to rest our eyes and mind. Exposure to light at this time sets the body clock off kilter, causing appetite to be erratic, and eating and digestion patterns to be disrupted. Perhaps mice have a similar disruption when they are exposed to small amounts of light.
Fonken recommends staying off the gizmos for at least an hour before bedtime. If you simply cannot, at least dim the brightness as much as possible.
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