Study Shows How Exposure to Light During Sleep Negatively Impacts Health

April 7, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
Study Shows How Exposure to Light During Sleep Negatively Impacts Health

study developed by researchers at Northwestern University finds that light exposure during sleep impairs cardiometabolic function. 

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that in healthy adults one night of moderate light exposure during sleep can increase nighttime heart rate, decrease heart rate variability, and increase insulin resistance the next morning when compared with sleep in a dimly lit environment. 

To conduct the study, researchers enrolled 20 healthy adults with similar bedtimes and sleep durations. Participants were randomized into room-light conditions and dim-light conditions for two nights. 

Participants in the room-light conditions showed increased insulin resistance in the morning when compared with participants in the dim-light conditions. 

Higher acute insulin response has shown to be a predictor of Type 2 diabetes onset. The findings may have implications for individuals frequently exposed to nighttime light during sleep who are at increased risk for Type 2 diabetes. 

Previous research has also shown that the incidence of obesity was highest in those who reported sleeping with a television or light on, which can negatively influence metabolic regulation. 

The long-term effects in humans of evening and nighttime light exposure on obesity and metabolic disorders remain unknown. 

Alexa can be reached at [email protected]

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