Electronic devices like iPads, smartphones, TVs and computers could be fuelling the obesity epidemic as the emitted light stops our metabolism from working properly when we’re asleep.
A recent study suggests that in order for our bodies to regulate the conversion of food/drink into energy and produce a healthy level of hormones, sleepers need pitch-black conditions. Light emitted from our beloved electronic devices or even the glow of a streetlight outside harms the body’s ability to produce melatonin, which in turn hinders our ability to process food efficiently.
Researchers at the University of Granada found that by injecting rats with melatonin, they regulated their systems and helped combat obesity and diabetes. The researchers believe that recreating a similar level of melatonin could be achieved in humans by sleeping in total darkness.
“Melatonin is a natural substance present in plants, animals and humans. It works as a hormonal signal released during the night to establish circadian rhythms.
“Currently this process is frequently interrupted as a result of excessive exposure to artificial lighting during the night. For instance, many people are in the habit of sleeping with their lamps, TVs or their computers switched on, or with the blinds drawn up.”
Prof Ahmad Agil explained. He went on to say that because of this, it is important for us to try sleeping in complete darkness to avoid any interference from light sources.
Prof Agil believes that this exposure to artificial lighting during sleep combined with sedentary lifestyles and consumption of high calorie foods are fuelling the obesity epidemic.
The researchers recommend reducing evening lighting and the use of computers/tablets/smartphones during the hours of darkness to help your body efficiently process food and drink.