Do you have trouble falling asleep without a nightlight or the television on? Or worse, do you fall asleep while using devices like smartphones or tablets?
Well, a new study conducted by Dr. Minjee Kim– an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine– found that older adults who partake in these habits are at higher risk of being obese, having high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Dr. Kim did note, though, that there is only a correlation, not causation, between bedtime light exposure and these three health conditions. Nonetheless, she believes that humans’ biological disposition may be the cause.
“It is not natural to see those lights at night. Light actually turns off some of the parts in the brain that tell our body it is daytime versus nighttime,” Dr. Kim said.
“So, those signals are messed up in a way since our circadian signal is weakened. And over time, that has implications for our health,” Dr. Kim continued.
In particular, too much nighttime light exposure may lead to metabolic and heart diseases.
The study encompassed over five hundred and fifty participants who took part in the Chicago Healthy Aging Study.
Their ages ranged from sixty-three to eighty-four years old.
While each participant slept, they wore a device that could measure how much light was present in their bedrooms over a one-week period.