New Study Links Falling Asleep to TV to Early Death and Disease

With streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO, we can pretty much watch TV from any and everywhere. One of the most popular places to stream? In bed, of course. But, a recent study at the Northwestern School of Medicine revealed that falling asleep with the TV on could lead to an early death.

The university’s study examined the effects of ambient light on the sleeping habits and overall health on a sample of 552 individuals aged 63 to 84. The results made it abundantly clear that sleeping with any sort of light-producing screen can lead to significant health issues.

Lead researcher Phyllis Zee told CNN that “people should do their best to avoid or minimize the amount of light they are exposed to during sleep” after discovering that the participants in the study who slept under ambient light were more likely to experience hypertension, diabetes and obesity. The science behind this revelation is a result the new understanding that insulin resistance—a symptom commonly associated with Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension—was more likely to occur in individuals that slept in a room with dim light like that emitted from a television.

Zee explained that the findings of the study show that sleeping under ambient light effects glucose regulation, and the numbers don’t lie: 17.8% of the participants who slept with the TV on suffered from diabetes compared to only 9.8% in those who slept in the dark. If you’re still not convinced, the data also revealed that 40.7% of participants who slept under ambient light were obese while less than 30% of those who slept in the dark experienced issues with obesity. Even further, the study showed that dim-light sleepers were more likely to stay up later and sleep later into the day.

Even though we all love a late-night binge, science is showing that dozing under the dim-light of your favorite show might be more harmful than we once thought. Next time you curl up in bed after a long day, consider pressing pause before you hit the pillow.

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