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How Can Sleeping With TV On Can Cause Obesity?

The artificial light at night while sleeping was significantly associated with increased risk of weight gain and obesity, especially in women who had a light or a television on in the room.


Yes!! sleeping with TV on can cause obesity

A cohort study was done and published by JAMA Intern Med on June 10, 2019 has done study on 43,722 women, trying to prove that the artificial light at night while sleeping was significantly associated with increased risk of weight gain and obesity, especially in women who had a light or a television on in the room.

The study was done by the team of experts from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (Yong-Moon Mark Park, MD, Ph.D., Alexandra J. White, PhD, Chandra L. Jackson, PhD, MS, Clarice R. Weinberg, PhD, and Dale P. Sandler, PhD) conducted the analyses about whether artificial light has significant effect on the health regarding increase in the overweight. 

Each participant who was enrolled in the study where asked questions every two to three years about changes in her health-related behaviors and health status, including her weight.

All women were asked about different types of the artificial light present while sleeping. Their responses were put into 4 categories:

  • no light
  • small nightlight in the room (e.g. from a clock radio)
  • light outside the room (e.g. from other rooms or outside streetlamps)
  • light or television left on in the room

The results of the study analyses had shown some a significant association between the artificial light while sleeping and changes in the weight and the body mass index (BMI).

Results of the study:

Compared to the study participants who did not have any artificial light
exposure while sleeping, to those who did have such exposure was 17% more
likely to have gained 5 kilograms or more, 13% more likely to have had at
least a 10% increase in BMI, 22% more likely to have developed overweight
status, and 33% more likely to have developed obesity. hence proving that sleeping with the TV on can cause obesity

Different effects of artificial light on health:

Artificial light effect on sleep

The scientists have shown that light exposure suppresses the secretion of the hormone melatonin,

which is involved in regulating the circadian rhythm. Even a small amount of exposure to dim light either by TV or mobile can effect and cause people to suffer from poor sleep.


It is shown that any type of light exposure can affect melatonin secretion and the circadian rhythm, but exposure to the blue wavelengths at night is known to have a stronger effect.

Researchers at Harvard University is done an experiment comparing the difference in effect between 6.5 hours of blue light and green light exposure. The study had shown that the exposure to the blue light suppressed melatonin for approximately double the amount of time than that of the green light did, as well as causing twice shift in circadian rhythm.

How to prevent this weight gain/sleeping with TV on can cause obesity?

  • Make sure that all lights used in the night lights are dim red lights as red light has the least powerful effect at suppressing the melatonin.
  • Avoid looking at the bright lights like that of the TV and mobiles at least three hours prior to going to bed
  • Night workers can use the googles which can filter the blue light spectrum. especially people who are working at night shifts.


The researches have proved a significant relationship between the exposure of the artificial light and to that of the health issues like that of the obesity and sleep deprivation.

It may be more likely that the disturbed sleep that could have affected the metabolic processes and predisposed to the weight gain, rather than the light itself.

The study had shown that the effect of exposure to electrical devices such as smartphones or tablets before bed, or leaving them left on at night would have significant health issues, especially in women.

For more related articles regarding Mental and physical health:

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