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Sleeping with the Light On? You’re Welcoming Depression, Obesity, and More

Elizabeth Renter
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August 31st, 2012
Updated 11/01/2012 at 11:48 pm
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sleepingwoman 235x147 Sleeping with the Light On? Youre Welcoming Depression, Obesity, and More

Do you have a habit of falling asleep with the television on or with the lamp shining on your face? Research shows even a little bit of light at night can have terribly negative effects on your health. By cutting out as much light as possible, you could reduce your chances of depression, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. Sounds like a convincing argument to stop sleeping with the light on.

Stop Sleeping with the Light On

According to Mercola, numerous studies support the need for complete darkness when we sleep. It encourages the body’s natural rhythms and reduces the chances of illness.

Much of this has to do with the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep and wake patterns, and mood regulation. Your body produces melatonin at night and especially after a day where you were exposed to bright light, like sunlight. Decreased production of melatonin, whether due to lack of sunlight exposure or too much light in the evening hours has been related to depression especially in SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.

Among other things, melatonin reduces your body’s estrogen levels at night. When your body isn’t producing enough melatonin, because you’re sleeping with the light on or have the television on while sleeping, your estrogen levels never fall. It’s this that scientists believe could increase your chances of “estrogen sensitive cancers” including breast cancer.

The wake and sleep patterns of the body are crucial for a variety of reasons. But one of those reasons is that your body knows when it’s time to eat (daylight) and time to fast (nighttime, when you should be sleeping). But when sleeping with the light on, your body’s internal clock tells you it’s time to eat. To your body, a light is a light and that light indicates daytime – and daytime means it’s time to eat. Because of this, sleeping with lights on could literally make you fat.

The American Medical Association says that health risks associated with the disruption of your sleeping and waking cycles can increase risks of cancer, obesity, diabetes, depression, and reproductive problems. Additionally, if you often find yourself waking up tired, you may find that sleeping in darkness can help treat that issue.

But, the solution is simple: sleep in complete darkness. Whether you need to buy black-out drapes or simply shut off the television, sleeping in the dark won’t only let you wake up feeling more refreshed, but it could increase your health and even your lifespan.

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  • Andy

    Oh my Gosh!! I did not know it that sleeping with light on can bring depression, obesity etc. I frequently sleep through keeping my light on and this is why following day I feel depressed for any unknown reason. I was tried a lot for finding out which is the reason for my mental depression and now I'm able to understand. Thanks
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  • ABHA CHAWLA MOHANTY

    BIOLOGICAL RHYTHM CAN BE ALIGNED TO ARTIFICIAL SOURCE IS CONCERN AS WORKING INDOORS WITHOUT SUNLIGHT CAN EFFECT METABOLISM…….