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A Surprising Reason Why You Might Be Gaining Weight

A Surprising Reason Why You Might Be Gaining Weight

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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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).


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5:24PM PST on Jan 20, 2014

Thank you - great advice:)

4:44PM PST on Jan 20, 2014

I am not overweight and never have been. I get up during the night and eat whatever, candy, chips and dip or anything I can find. However I don't eat that much during the day. I use a night light and am on the computer a lot in the daytime and again up until the time I go to bed. I don't buy the fact that light makes you gain weight.

1:23AM PST on Jan 6, 2014


1:07AM PST on Jan 4, 2014

Thank you :)

1:06AM PST on Jan 4, 2014

Thank you :)

8:12PM PST on Jan 1, 2014


8:08PM PST on Jan 1, 2014


9:42AM PST on Dec 29, 2013

That's a new one!

3:14AM PST on Dec 29, 2013

Thank you :)

10:51AM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Thank you.

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