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Switch off the smartphone, light exposure during sleep affects metabolism

Do you sleep under artificial lights or are exposed to the blue light of your smartphone? A new study says that chronic overnight light exposure could have long-term effects on your metabolic function.

fitness Updated: Jun 05, 2018 16:44 IST
Soma Das
Soma Das
Hindustan Times
Blue light,Light exposure,Smartphone screens
A single night of light exposure during sleep acutely impacts measures of insulin resistance.(Shutterstock)

Being exposed to light at night can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle, but that’s not the only cause for concern. A new study done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that light exposure at night can also impact your metabolism.

According to the study, chronic overnight light exposure could have long-term effects on metabolic function. “Our preliminary findings show that a single night of light exposure during sleep acutely impacts measures of insulin resistance,” said lead author Ivy Cheung Mason. “Light exposure overnight during sleep has been shown to disrupt sleep, but these data indicate that it may also have the potential to influence metabolism.”

Insulin resistance is the diminished ability of cells to respond to insulin action transporting glucose out of the bloodstream and precedes the development of type 2 diabetes. (Shutterstock)

What the study shows

Results show that a single night of light exposure during sleep acutely impacts measures of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the diminished ability of cells to respond to insulin action transporting glucose out of the bloodstream and precedes the development of type 2 diabetes.

“These results are important given the increasingly widespread use of artificial light exposure, particularly at night,” said Mason “The effect we see is acute; more research is needed to determine if chronic overnight light exposure during sleep has long-term cumulative effects on metabolic function.”

The study appears in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and was presented at SLEEP 2018, the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Blue light emitted by smartphone screens disrupts sleep in children and teenagers. (Shutterstock)

Here are some of the other effects of light exposure on the body:

* A study done by the Ohio State University in the US, which was conducted on hamsters, found that the negative health impact of night-time light exposure on parents may be inherited by offsprings. The evidence indicated that the dim light exposure had various repercussions for offspring, and that fathers and mothers independently appeared to pass along genetic instructions that impaired immune response and decreased endocrine activity.

* A 2015 study done by the University of Connecticut shows that over-exposure to artificial light at night has serious long-term health implications including a tendency to contract breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, depression, and possibly other forms of cancer.

* Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, found that children who spend too much time on tablets, mobile phone or television are more likely to gain unhealthy weight. It is not just because of physical inactivity, but also due to increased exposure to light, says the study.

* Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder in the US found that blue light emitted by smartphone screens disrupts sleep in children and teenagers.

(With inputs from ANI)

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First Published: Jun 05, 2018 16:43 IST