According to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, persistent exposure to light at night may lead to weight gain, even without changing physical activity or eating more food.
Researchers found that mice exposed over an eight week period to even dim light at night gained 50% more weight than mice that lived in a standard light-dark cycle.
“Although there were no differences in activity levels or daily consumption of food, the mice that lived with light at night were getting fatter than the others,” said Laura Fonken, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in neuroscience at Ohio State University.
Which begs the question, if the mice are not less active or eating more, what’s causing the bigger weight gain?
It turns out that mice living with light at night eat at times they normally wouldn’t. “Something about light at night was making the mice in our study want to eat at the wrong times,” said Randy Nelson, professor of neuroscience and psychology at Ohio State.
Food for thought? While you, dear reader, digest this information, we at Word on Health are off to order our blackout shades!