Turn out the lights!

Sleep deprivation makes weight loss difficult.  It stimulates appetite, encourages poor food choices, and makes the body act diabetic.

Bright lights at night may make us eat more at night!

In animal studies, lights (even minimal amounts) at night promote more eating at night.  The Economist reports on an article that showed that:

A team of researchers led by Laura Fonken of Ohio State University in America has cleared the matter up. As they report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they examined how nocturnal light affects the weight, body fat and glucose intolerance (the underlying cause of late-onset diabetes) of male mice. They found that persistent exposure to even a little night-time light leads to increases in all three.

The article, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) also stated:

Mice housed in either bright or dim light at night have significantly increased body mass and reduced glucose tolerance compared with mice in a standard light/dark cycle, despite equivalent levels of caloric intake and total daily activity output.

Furthermore, the timing of food consumption by dim light and bright light mice differs from that in standard light/dark mice. Nocturnal rodents typically eat substantially more food at night; however, dim light mice consume 55.5% of their food during the light phase, as compared with 36.5% in standard light/dark mice.

I still struggle with sleep; most of do as we grow older.  I try to turn all the lights and TV off (and minimize all those glowing electronic lights!) before going to bed.

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Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See vascularanesthesia.com for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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