The Surprising Factor That Might Be Causing Your Unwanted Weight Gain
Not enough exercise?
While the above are all certainly factors that drastically affect body composition, there’s something even easier to fix that might be playing a role in causing you to gain weight:
Artificial light at night!
This comes from new research at the National Institutes of Health, which was published on June 10, 2019 in JAMA Internal Medicine (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2735446?guestAccessKey=5a107249-1470-48f6-a8fe-ffe680065c54&utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=061019).
Specifically, the study looked at weight gain in women and suggests cutting out all artificial light at night reduces your chances of becoming obese.
The research involved looking at more than 43,000 women and asked them whether they slept with no light at all, with a small nightlight, with light coming in from outside of the room, such as from streetlights or from brightly-lit signs from a local business, or if they had a television in the room and often fall asleep with it on.
Analyzing their answers showed a link between women who had light in their rooms when they slept and being overweight. Having a television on in the room proved the worst in terms of weight gain and obesity.
If you’re a skeptic and are thinking, ‘As if my night light is causing me to gain weight, I don’t believe this study’ consider another reason to sleep in as dark of a room as possible, and maybe even consider investing in blackout blinds, especially if your bedroom lets in a lot of light from outside…
Melatonin, known as the sleep hormone, is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and helps regulate your relationship with day and night, darkness and lightness.
When it gets dark, your body starts producing melatonin to help prepare you for sleep in the near future. In this sense, melatonin is like a reset button for your internal clock, and it’s important for overall cellular health, as well as for mental sharpness and clarity. Further, keeping your melatonin levels where they should be is important to keep inflammation levels low, for metabolic health, and even to fight cancer cells.
So basically, if you mess with your melatonin levels by avoiding the dark, you’re messing with all sorts of potentially bad health problems from forming.
And if you believe the latter study has merit, then it all makes sense: Light from television, from streetlights shining through the window, or even from a little nightlight, suppresses your melatonin and disrupts not just your natural circadian rhythm, and also your metabolism. Boom: You gain weight.
If you’re looking to up your melatonin levels, you can consider taking a melatonin supplement before bed (which was known to help you fall asleep more easily too), as well as eating foods to help increase your natural melatonin levels. Pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, barley, and tomatoes are all known to help increase your body’s melatonin levels.