Nighttime light exposure almost seems impossible to escape these days. As a society, we are connected to our televisions and handheld devices all day and all night. Even though it may be difficult to disconnect, it is important that we learn how to minimize nighttime light exposure, since it is linked to numerous health issues and the potential to lose weight. Associated health problems include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and breast cancer. Research has shown a connection between these health problems and the alteration of melatonin levels, circadian rhythms, and metabolic functions caused by the light exposure.
Below are 4 tips to try today to cut back on nighttime light exposure
- Block Bright Lights on Screen: Bright lights send signals to your brain that make it difficult to fall asleep and thereby for your body to lose weight. Many phone and tablet devices feature a light dimming or blue light blocking feature. If your device or devices do not include this feature, try downloading an application that blocks bright lights and launching it at sunset daily.
- Avoid Excessive Exposure to Light at Night: You do not have to sleep in complete darkness to reap the benefits of avoiding light at night. The goal is to reduce the amount of light exposure. Be attentive to places that light comes in. If you sleep with the television on, start turning the TV off before heading to bed. Close curtains to block out light from outside your home.
- Turn Off Electronic Devices: For those that have the willpower, turning off your electronic devices is a great way to ensure that your sleep pattern is not disrupted. If you are going to implement this tip, try to power down about an hour before heading to bed. This includes telephones, tablets, and televisions.
- Avoid Middle of the Night Lights: Bursts of light in the middle of the night also affects circadian rhythm. When you wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, that little bit of light exposure is impactful. Purchasing bulbs that are not as bright as everyday bulbs or finding ways to dim lights are helpful. Bathrooms and hallways are places that many people like to keep well-lit, even at night. If this is the case for you, finding a way to dim those lights during night hours will help minimize the negative effects of lights at night.
Even though you should minimize light exposure at night, do not forget to get plenty of light exposure during the daytime hours. It helps boost alertness, improve mood, and helps you sleep better – all things that will help you lose weight!