Is Your Night Phone Use Giving You Sugar Cravings?
More bad news for late-night device users - the blue light emitted by your screens may be causing you to reach for the lollies.
That’s right, every late night Candy Crush might be leading you to crushing candy the next day.
A new study by the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) in Utrecht, Netherlands, has found that male rats who were exposed to an hour of light from LEDs at night experienced increased sugar cravings the next day.
They also experienced reduced glucose tolerance due to a jump in blood sugar levels, which is a warning sign for pre-diabetes.
All this without even having their own social media account. (Even though the handle @NightLightRat seems to be available.)
The rats were kept awake during the day and slept at night, so they mimicked human circadian rhythms.
They were given the option to choose from four food sources: a nutritionally balanced meal, lard, sugar water and water.
And despite the temptation of lard, even after just one night’s exposure to blue light, the male rats drank more sugar than during the nights with no blue light exposure.
Previous scientific studies that night-time blue light wasn’t just bad for your sleep patterns, but could also lead to weight gain and obesity.
A North Carolina study of 44,000 women published last month found that exposure to artificial light in the evenings correlated with a 17 per cent greater likelihood of gaining weight.
Over five years, women who reported leaving their lights on gained up to 5 kgs.
And now we might have a reason – the mountains of chocolate we subsequently chow down on.
Retinal cells in the eye are very sensitive to blue light, and scientists say this may be passing on misleading information to areas of the brain which regulate appetite and sleep.
Many phones, tablets and even some TVs are now introducing “night modes” which replaces the blue light with a yellower glow which should minimise harmful side-effects.
But lead researcher Anayanci Masís-Vargas suggested the best thing to do would be cut night-time screen time down as much as possible.
“Limiting the amount of time that we spend in front of screens at night is, for now, the best measure to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of blue light,” she said.
“In case it is necessary to be exposed to devices at night, I would recommend the use of apps and night mode features on the devices, which turn the screens more orange and less blue or the use of blue light filtering googles that are already available in the market.”
It’s not known whether these goggles come in rat size. Scree