According to a study of almost 100,000 Chinese adults, sleeping in rooms that are exposed to artificial lighting at night could increase your risk of developing diabetes.
According to a study published in Diabetologia on Tuesday, people who live in areas with high levels of light pollution at night are 28% more likely than those who live in less polluted areas.
The authors concluded that more than 9,000,000 cases of diabetes among Chinese adults aged 18 and over could be due to nighttime outdoor light pollution. They also noted that the number will likely rise as more people move to cities.
A lack of darkness can affect more than just urban areas. The authors stated that urban light pollution can be so severe that it can reach suburbs and forests that are hundreds of miles away from the source.
Dr. Phyllis Zee of Northwestern University Feinberg School Medicine in Chicago said that the study confirmed prior research on the possible detrimental effects of nightlight on metabolic function and the risk of developing diabetes. She was not part of the study.
Light at night has a positive impact on the health
Research has previously shown a link between artificial light at night, weight gain, obesity, disruptions to metabolic function, insulin secretion, the development of diabetes, and other cardiovascular risk factors.
Zee and her colleagues published a study earlier in the year that examined light’s role in sleep for healthy adults aged 20. In the sleep lab experiment, the young subjects experienced an increase in blood sugar and heartbeat when they slept for just one night under dimmed lights, such as a TV with the sound off.
In studies that have been done in the past, an elevated heart rate at night was shown to be a risk factor for future heart disease and death. Higher blood sugar levels can indicate insulin resistance which could eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Gareth Nye is a senior lecturer in physiology at the University of Chester, UK. He stated that healthy sleep is crucial in preventing diabetes development. He was not part of the Diabetologia research.
He stated that studies have shown that irregular sleep patterns are linked to an increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
This new study was based on data from the 2010 China Noncommunicable Disease Surveillance Survey, which asked representative samples about the Chinese population’s social demographics, lifestyle factors, and medical and family histories. The satellite imagery of the light levels in each area of China was used to compare blood samples with those taken from other countries.
According to the analysis, chronic exposure to nighttime light pollution led to an increase in blood sugar levels and a greater risk of developing insulin resistance or diabetes.
Nye said that there is no direct link between diabetes or nighttime light pollution and diabetes. However, Nye pointed out that urban living is a well-known contributor to diabetes development.
Nye stated, “It is well-known that obesity can be increased by living in an urbanized area.”
There are many ways to block the light
You can reduce light levels at night by placing your bed far from windows and using light-blocking shades. To protect your eyes, use a sleep mask if low light levels persist.
You should be aware of what light source you have in your bedroom. It is important to ban lights that are in the blue spectrum. This includes those from electronic devices such as televisions, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Blue light is the most stimulating, Zee stated.
You should change the color if you must have a light on because of safety. She suggested that you choose lights with more reddish or brownish hues. She suggested that if a nightlight is required, it should be dimmed and placed at floor level so it reflects more than it does at your eyes at bed level.
Zee recommended that you avoid sleeping with the TV on.
You should dim the ambient lighting at night two to three hours before you go to bed. If you absolutely must use a computer or other light-emitting screen, Zee suggested that you change the wavelength of your screen light to orange-amber. Importantly, get sunlight during the day. It is good for your health!