New study: This sleeping habit surprisingly prevents you from losing weight. This is how you can take countermeasures
Annie Scott, Christine Naefeke
Sleep problems are bad enough: you feel unfit, have a headache, and can hardly concentrate. And now bad sleep is supposed to have a negative impact on weight? That’s not the only reason why it’s time for you to do something about your sleep worries.
Surely you know the usual tips: drink less coffee and alcohol, no intensive sports units before going to sleep and much more. Do you stick to it and still feel like you haven’t had enough sleep in the morning? A new study has the possible answer, which also makes a surprising link to problems with losing weight. With our tips you can put the cause out of action.
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How does poor sleep affect health and body weight?
A new study conducted at Northwestern University in Illinois, USA, has found a whole new clue as to why we are having trouble falling and staying asleep. And this trigger for poor sleep can also be or become the cause of obesity and serious health problems.
The scientists found in this small study found that the body of sleepers who are exposed to only brief or slight incidence of light during sleep sleep less relaxed and deeply. And not only that: important nocturnal regeneration processes of the body are also impaired.
Even occasional headlights from cars driving past in front of the bedroom window or the glowing LED display of a digital clock on the bedside table are enough to have a negative effect on sleep, according to the scientists working with the study leader dr Phyllis Zee. You leave your watch on the bedside table or don’t have curtains or blinds? evil trap!
The effects can be significant: “The study results show that a single night’s exposure to moderate light during sleep can impair blood sugar and cardiovascular regulation, a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome is,” explains Dr. Zee. It is therefore of great health importance, according to the head of the Institute for Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University School of Medicine, to minimize or completely avoid light during sleep.
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How does light affect the body at night?
It is known that during the day the light heart rate increased by activation of the sympathetic nervous system. It gets the heart pumping to activate the alertness you need for the day. What is new, however, is that the slight brightness of lanterns or car headlights falling through the curtains can already trigger the sympathetic nervous system.
In the study, people who slept in a brighter room also showed signs of insulin resistance the next morning. This means their bodies were having trouble converting sugar from their blood into energy, leading to spikes in blood sugar levels, which is what it’s headed for food cravings can come. This supports the thesis of numerous scientific studiesthat there is a connection between poor sleep and body weight gain.
Why the quality of sleep is important for health
It’s not just because of the weight aspect that you should stop exposure to light at night. Other studies also show that not only the length of sleep, but also the quality of sleep plays an important role in health. One study demonstrated that sleep disruptions, e.g. B. also light stimuli, even if they do not lead to conscious awakening, negatively affect sleep. The deep sleep phase, REM sleep, which is important for the regeneration of the body, is shorter. During this sleep phase, the body releases growth hormones, which stimulate the regeneration of all body cells and strengthen the immune system.
The many negative health consequences of a lack of deep sleep for the body also include an increased ‘instinct’ in eating behavior, which can lead to cravings. In other words: light at night makes you hungry during the day.
How can I improve my sleep quality and lose weight better?
There are numerous ways to do this, you will find the most important ones here here. But as the new study from Northwestern University shows, you should also pay special attention to your sleeping environment and lighting conditions. The less light the better.
These useful tools can help, for example:
- opaque curtains and rolls,
- Alarm clock, whose display light goes out automatically when it gets dark or whose display only gets brighter at the touch of a button, e.g. the analogue one Alarm Clock by lunaoo in a vintage look.
- one sleep maskthat should fit perfectly and comfortably. Especially when you are on the go, you should always have one with you.
Sleep quality and body weight are in a relationship that has been proven several times, whereby the sleep quality can be surprisingly impaired even by low incidence of light. In the future, pay even more attention to a constantly dark sleeping environment, your health will benefit from it.
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