Sleeping with Lights On at Night Can Cause Physical and Mental Problems: Study
Our preference to keep the lights on or sleep in pitch-dark rooms is subjective. Some prefer to sleep alone, and some with the people surrounding them. It depends on conditioning and the experiences they had over the years. On days when someone has watched a horror movie, they would like to leave the lights on or have people around. And for those who always preferred to leave them on continue to leave them on no matter what. But sometimes our brain senses the sensory signals around us and starts processing the same. This interferes with sleep, making us aware of our surroundings. In the long run, this eventually disrupts the work the brain needs to do in our hours of sound sleep. Even after ideal hours of sleep, people might not feel refreshed or recuperated due to the same. If this pattern continues, researchers warn us of the risk of chronic diseases such as an increase in blood pressure, risk of cardiovascular diseases, and type-2 diabetes.
The light exposure during the night could be from the lights outside the room, or the artificial lights present in the room such as night lights, table lights, etc, people might wake up in the middle of night and use bathrooms more often, such as diabetic patients, pregnant women, or senior citizens, and who are generally disturbed in their sleep because of over-thinking, stress, and several other reasons. They also tend to lean into using their digital devices to compensate for their awake time during the night. This ultimately affects sleep and causes physical, physiological and psychological problems.
The trouble that tags along with sleeping with lights on include:
The brain needs its downtime to effectively carry out the functions it is required to complete while the body is resting. But when the body senses the visual signals from the lights, the functions of the brain are affected. This leads to the risk of depression. Moreover, using phones, tablets, or laptops in bed or before sleep affects our sleep. Scientists have warned us time and again about the consequences of the blue light emanating from the digital screen. It not only affects our eyes but also causes mood disorders. Because deprived sleep could make us feel irritable.
Obesity in women is caused by several reasons such as hormonal imbalance, eating disorders, side effects of medications, PCOS, menopause, pregnancy, and change in sleeping patterns. It was observed in a research study that women who sleep with their lights on tend to be more obese than those who sleep with their lights off. They have gained around 5 kg in a year. When they sleep with lights on, the brain and the body are not completely rested leading to an imbalance in hormone secretion in the body leading to weight gain.
How to avoid the impact of lights on sleep?
- If not comfortable, start with using dim lights in the room or the bathroom and shift to no lights
- Reduce the exposure to blue light
- Use eye masks or window screens to avoid lights from outside the room
- Use amber, red, or orange light instead of white or blue light
- Rearrange the bed and the couch such that the light directly doesn't impact the eyes