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Exposure to light before bed may increase diabetes risk

Category: Diabetes

Individuals who are exposed to high levels of electric light between dusk and bedtime may be more likely to receive a positive HbA1c test for diabetes, according to a new study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers.

The researchers found that light exposure during this period of the day suppresses melatonin levels. This hormone is linked to a range of metabolic functions, including blood pressure, body temperature regulation, sleepiness and, most important of all, regulation of blood sugar levels.

For the study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers took a range of measurements from 116 participants for a period of five nights. They found that the ones who were exposed to electric light for the eight hours before they went to bed had significantly lower melatonin levels and increased risk factors for metabolic complications, like diabetes.

The researchers said that these days, many people are exposed to high levels of light due to their job or lifestyle, and that their findings could have major implications for these individuals.  

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