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Getting sufficient sleep is vital – it lets your mind and body rest, helps your muscles recover and plays a role in weight loss. We all know that even with a healthy diet and consistent fitness routine, you might not see any results if you are constantly sleep-starved. However, a new study shows that even if you sleep sufficiently, keeping the lights on might cause you to gain weight.

The study

According to the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, sleeping with the television or light on is associated with a five-kilogram weight gain. This was measured among women in a new study over a five-year period. The study involved 43,722 women in America from the age of 35 to 74.

Findings from the study

The women’s self-reported sleeping habits were categorised into no light, nightlight, light outside the room, and light or television in the room.

Dale Sandler, senior author of the study, said “there was a 17 per cent change of gaining five kilograms – after we adjusted for confounding factors”.

There was also a 22 per cent increased likelihood of becoming overweight.

The conclusion

The results show that sleeping with the light or TV on can be linked to weight gain. It’s possible that the absence of darkness hinders you from getting deep sleep, which in turn makes you feel more tired when you wake up. That might cause you to eat a bigger breakfast to feel energised. So if there’s any takeaway from this study, it’s to do one simple thing before you sleep: switching off the lights.

Written by Carissa Wong for Shape.