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Is Sleeping with the Light on Bad for My Health?

July 6, 2022

Falling asleep in front of the TV or computer can be bad for your health

Lights out at bedtime is more important than you suspect. Even dim light can disrupt sleep and increase your risk of developing diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

A new study published in the journal “Sleep” monitored the nighttime sleep patterns of 552 men and women, aged 63 to 84. Researchers found that fewer than half of the study participants slept in darkness for at least five hours each day.

The study found those who had higher amounts of light at night were also the most likely to have diabetes, obesity, or hypertension.

Protect Your Health from Light Pollution

Researchers found that even tiny amounts of light can disrupt sleep. To avoid sleep-related health problems, people should take simple precautions:

  1. Don’t leave the TV set on all night while you sleep. Turn it off and sleep in a completely darkened room.
  2. Don’t charge laptops or cellphones in your bedroom. Blue light from these devices can alter your melatonin and disrupt your sleep.
  3. Use light-blocking window shades or curtains to prevent ambient light from the street from entering your bedroom.
  4. If all else fails, try using a sleep mask.
  5. If you need to get up in the middle of the night, avoid turning on lights – or keep them as dim as possible and turn them on as briefly as you can.
  6. If you need to go to the bathroom frequently at night, consider installing nightlights near the floor. They will enable you to see where you’re going to reduce the risk of falling. But choose lights with an amber or red color. That spectrum of light has a longer wavelength and is less disruptive to your body clock, than shorter wavelengths, such as blue light.

Get the Care You Need

If you have trouble sleeping, you should discuss the problem with your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, Grady can help. If you need a primary care physician, call us at (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors there can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise.