Light bedrooms 'link to obesity'

There was a report the other the other day on the BBC website, that said ‘A team at the Institute of Cancer Research in London found women had larger waistlines if their bedroom was “light enough to see across” at night’

The whole report from the BBC:

Also the academic paper that is the background for the claim:

In sum it seems the darker our sleep environment the thinner we will be.

What do the rest of you folks think about that?

Does it correlate with your experiences, or is academic humbug?

It’s a data dredge survey. They took a look at various bits of data on the same group of people and found what might be a correlation. Before we can say if it’s off it’s kilter or if there is an actual link there needs to be a proper followup study.
That being said, there is a known link between weight gain and not getting enough sleep. It could be that some people are being affected by light while they sleep that causes them to suffer a lack of REM. But that’s personal conjecture.

I would say that brighter bedrooms probably also correlate with more urban environments. Completely dark bedrooms probably happen in places where folks have a farm or at least a garden to care for - thus more exercise.

Correlation does not equal causality.

So you’re a caveman struggling to survive and your fate could hinge on whether you sleep under a full moon or next to the fire? That’s rough.

In my experience obese people are more likely to want the lights on in the bedroom during and after sex. So it makes sense.

Except that urban obesity rates are lower than urban ones.

It makes sense to me. I always go into a deep coma-like sleep when I stay in hotel rooms with those heavy window drapes. I have found that the better night sleep I get, the less likely I am to get sleepy during the day. And when I get sleepy during the day, I snack more since sugar can act as a “pick me up” drug.

I dunno. I’ve always thought stuffing your fat face was the main cause of nongenetic obesity.


What’s your n?

There was an amusing science fiction story that found that people who had ever exhibited any kind of disease, insanity, criminal or violent behavior had ALL at some point of time in their lives… eaten tomatoes!

Sometimes I wonder if researchers are pulling a fast one on the general public by analyzing all kinds of improbable events and finding a way to connect them together.

Not sure about the correlation either, but there is this study that links growth hormone to adequate sleep:
“What happens if you don’t get your beauty sleep? It is not just lack of sleep that negatively affects body fat percentage and the risk of chronic disease—poor sleep quality does as well. Deep sleep also helps to negate the bad effects of cortisol. Growth hormone naturally decreases with age and also with increased abdominal fat, leading to a viscious cycle of fatigue, excess stress hormone and increased abdominal fat.”

Most ppl sleep better in a dark room, some even going so far as to eliminate the glow from the clock to slip into REM better.

As long as researchers can present a plausible biological mechanism for why two seemingly unrelated variables (bedroom lighting and obesity) would be related to one another and they are careful to specify their findings are evidence of a correlation but not causation, then they have done their jobs well.

Your criticism would make sense if these researchers hadn’t done these things. But they did. One can be skeptical without being dismssive.

This is without a doubt the most untrue thing I’ve ever read on the Straight Dope.

Then you’ve been reading some seriously whack stuff. Try looking it up.

Unless I’m being whoosed…she’s right: the prevalence of obesity is greater in rural counties versus urban counties.

And then there’s this.

I hope I’m being whooshed. I was able to google these without any effort.

(Still it would be interesting to see the original paper so I can see how they account for the interaction of confounders. For instance, it may be that urban dwellers with high amounts of ambient bedroom lighting are also more likely to engage in compensatory behaviors that the authors didn’t consider or were unable to account for. It could be that urban dwellers have to exercise more+plus eat less+have less stress jobs than rural/suburban dwellers to offset the negative effects of lighting. If the authors didn’t stratify their cases by urban/suburban/rural, differences among them might be masked.)

I larfed, LHoD.

That urban rates are lower than urban rates is demonstrably false. :wink:

Hahah. Ok good point.

Sorry–I couldn’t resist. Carry on!

Obviously we need to design, fund and engage an effective randomized clinical trial to test the hypothesis: does a correlation exist between light bedrooms and obesity.

I propose the following bi-phasic double [del]chin[/del] blind study :
Part 1:

** Hypothesis:** People who eat a lot of twinkles during early morning hours, over and beyond their normal 8am to midnight caloric intake, will get fat.

Group 1: Control: Do not feed subjects in this group any Twinkies after midnight for 6 months.

Group 2: Fatties: Feed subjects in this group between 2 and 6 Twinkies every night between midnight and 8am every day for 6 months.

Test: at the end of 6 months note and record how many subjects from each group look like Orson Wells in his non-lean years.

Part 2:
Hypothesis: People who can see a box a Twinkies on their dresser from their bed across the bedroom are more likely to eat more Twinkies than people who cannot see a box of Twinkies on their dresser from their bed across the bedroom.

Group 1: Control: Put a box of Twinkies on the dresser of each Control group subject and turn out the lights.

Group 2: Fatties: Put a box of Twinkies on the dresser of each Fattie group subject and turn on the lights.

Test: At the end of 6 months note and record how many subjects from each group break the toilet seat when they take a dump.

Sure, the more time you spend awake, the greater opportunity to eat.