October 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm #35565
note: this study is really about needing to follow day and night cycles of nature, and how they affect your meridian flow and thus your metabolism. – michael
LIGHT AT NIGHT COULD BOOST WEIGHT GAIN
By Emily Sohn
October 11, 2010
– Exposure to light at night may contribute to weight gain and rising rates
– Even dim light exposure may cause a shift both in when you eat.
– When you eat may be important as what you eat and how much.
– To avoid gaining extra pounds, you may want shut the shades and turn off
lights at night, including computers, TVs and phones.
To avoid gaining weight, suggests a new study, we may need some darkness.
Mice exposed to light at night gained 50 percent more weight than mice whose
nights were truly dark, the study found, even though the two groups ate
equal amounts of food and got the same amount of exercise.
What seemed to matter most was the timing of their meals. With exposure to
nighttime light, the study found, mice ate at times when they normally would
be sleeping. That alone could have altered their circadian rhythms and led
to weight gain. Dim lights had the same effect as bright ones.
While the mice in this study were nocturnal, the same could prove true in
people. That would emphasize the need to shut the shades and turn off lights
at night, including computers, TVs and smart phones — not just to help with
sleep, but to help us keep our figures.
“With the advent of electrical lighting at the turn of the 20th century,
individuals of many species, including humans, became exposed to bright and
unnatural light at night,” said lead researcher Laura Fonken, a behavioral
neuroscientist at The Ohio State University in Columbus. “Our findings are
important because they demonstrate how modern societal developments can
Fonken and colleagues noticed that rates of obesity have risen alongside a
rise in light levels at night. They wondered if the parallel trends might be
more than a coincidence.
The researchers conducted two experiments. In the first, they exposed one
group of mice to 16 hours of light during the day and eight hours of
complete darkness at night. A second group of mice experienced the same
daytime light exposure with eight hours of dim light — at a level that was
like having a computer on in the room. A third group got 24 hours of bright
After eight weeks of being able to eat as much as they wanted, all three
groups gained weight. But mice that had been exposed to light at night
gained an average of 12 grams, compared to a gain of eight grams in the mice
whose nights were dark. The light-exposed mice also had greater trouble
regulating blood sugar levels.
All of the mice, which were nocturnal, consumed about the same number of
calories and got the same amount of physical activity. But those exposed to
light at night ended up eating 56 percent of their calories during daytime
hours, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences. Those that experienced true darkness ate just 37
percent of their calories during the day.
To test the idea that timing of meals might make a difference in weight
gain, the researchers again exposed groups of mice to the three light
scenarios. This time, meals were restricted to times of day when the animals
normally eat. In that case, mice didn’t gain weight, even if they
experienced late-night lights.
“I think this has really important implications for weight control and how
we approach weight and diet,” said neurologist Phyllis Zee, director of the
Sleep Disorders Program at Northwestern University in Chicago. “Maybe this
should be a bit of a wake-up call when we’re looking at weight-management
strategies — to think about timing.”
The study could be an important insight in the fight against obesity in
young people, Zee said, because teenagers naturally tend to fall asleep
later and are fiends for their electronic devices. The findings could also
help explain why shift-workers suffer such high rates of obesity, diabetes
and other metabolic disorders.
For everyone, Zee said, the new study underlines the need for good sleep
habits. Around 9:30 p.m., she said, it’s a good idea to shut off
electronics, dim overhead lights and start winding down.
“Now we have another reason to pay attention (to good sleep hygiene),” she
said. “Not only because it can help you sleep better, but because it can
also help us maintain our weight.”October 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm #35566
So essentially this says that staying up late is night is not good…I agree, and is difficult with the modern lifestyle…what implications does this have for practicing qigong?
Only practice during daytime? Practice with the lights off at night?October 25, 2010 at 5:30 am #35568
No. It says having a light at nighttime is not good, not that
staying up late is bad. The study was done on nocturnal mice for
that matter. Don’t read too much into it.
“Go to bed early; get up early arguments” are mainly used
by morning people to justify their annoying habits to the
night owls. It’s better to just find your own natural rhythms
and follow them, rather than someone else’s idea.
SOctober 25, 2010 at 9:49 pm #35570
The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.
– Elizabeth Taylor
I do feel better when I go to bed early and get up early, but things haven’t been going that way for me for quite some time.October 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm #35572
To each, his own.
I’m more of a night owl.
Forcing myself to be more of an early bird leaves me sluggish and irritable,
no matter how long I’m forced to be on such a program.
As a night owl, I could argue that being a night owl is better
just based on perspective . . . Young people tend to stay up later
and sleep in later; whereas old people tend to go to bed early
and rise early. From that perspective, it seems wiser to
emulate youth than to emulate the old. Like a tai chi principle,
better to be young and pliable, than old and brittle.
Of course, this is just propaganda.
Everybody intuitively knows what works best for them, and the
more they listen to their own intuitive advice, the better.
Whatever feels right to do, you do; and whatever doesn’t, you don’t.
The rest is just an invention of the mind,
trying to contain the inherent variability,
due to its obsession with organization.
SOctober 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm #35574
Just to jump back a few posts, so it is okay to stay up late as long as we have no light??? I’ll have to get night-vision goggles, or infra-red lamps.October 26, 2010 at 10:19 pm #35576
Personally, I like to dim the lights
within an hour or so before I go to bed.
Helps me to wind down. Less chance of insomnia.
I still don’t know exactly what could be determined from that study.
The study was done on mice that were nocturnal.
For all we know, the extra light during night time
was something that the mice considered stressful,
and as such maybe boosted the amount of cortisol
in their bodies, which increases appetite and
fat-storage. So it may have more to do with stress
than with the light itself.
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