October 13, 2010

Lights out!

For the past two weeks on my new project, I have really been exhausted all the time – despite getting a decently adequate amount of sleep. While I’m not getting a solid 8 hours, I’m getting at least 6 or 7 every night – which I would think should be enough. Also, as discussed many times before, I don’t seem to be losing weight even though I’m working my tail off. What gives?

A new study has linked light at night to weight gain, and I found this pretty intriguing. The last two weeks at my hotel, I’ve gotten a room without blackout curtains, and the light from outside has left a semi-dim setting instead of complete darkness. In addition, many of my electronics tend to have a “charging” light when plugged in overnight, so my room always has neon glows in various corners. When I’m at home, I don’t have blackout curtains, but my bedroom window fortunately looks out over the Hudson River instead of directly onto the city lights. When I close my blinds and my curtains, it’s not pitch black, but it’s pretty dark. However, I still do have that issue with my electronics.

While most of the internet coverage of this study has focused on the dim light at night, I’m also interested in the second part, which hypothesizes that the issue may be caused by messing up your body’s circadian clock that controls the metabolic cycle. According to the article I linked above, “Put simply – the predictability of light and day regulates our body clock, which regulates our metabolism. When the light and dark cycle is disrupted, so is our body metabolism, and also when we decide to eat.”

So it sounds like a lack of sunlight may also be a cause – my problem may be as much from my lack of blackout curtains as it is the windowless room that I sit in for 12 hours a day, with nothing more than dull fluoroscent lighting. Seriously, my new client site is a gorgeous building, but our particular portion of it is basically a closet in the middle, with a solid door and NO light at all. (Hey, maybe it would be good for sleeping??) It’s such a cave that none of us actually get any kind of cell service in there – not even intermittently. If you call my cell during the day, it will go straight to voicemail, and I won’t see a record of your call until I leave the building.

While I doubt I can claim health issues and get my client to move us to a room with windows, I am going to try harder to control the ambient light in my hotel room at night – we’ll see what kind of an impact that makes.

Thoughts, anyone? How do you deal with ambient light at night, and do you find that it makes a difference in your weight?


1 thought on “Lights out!”

  1. The lack of sunlight problem can be helped by getting an artificial sunlight lamp that you sit in front of for a certain time period per day. My sister has one to control her seasonal affective disorder.

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