Bedroom Light at Night Might Boost Women’s Weight

MONDAY, June 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Women, beware: Sleeping with a light on or the TV going in your bedroom could make you put on weight.

That’s the finding of new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. While the study doesn’t prove that sleeping with a light on causes weight gain, it suggests the two may be linked, the researchers said.

“Turning off the light while sleeping may be a useful tool for reducing a possibility of weight gain and becoming overweight or obese,” said lead author Dr. Yong-Moon Mark Park. He is a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Park said that exposure to artificial light at night may suppress the sleep hormone melatonin and disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle.

“It also may disturb day-to-day variations of stress hormones and affect other metabolic processes in ways that contribute to weight gain,” Park added.

Keeping a light on might also result in poorer sleep. Shorter sleep could prompt you to exercise less and eat more, he noted.

For the study, Park’s team relied on self-reported data from nearly 44,000 women, aged 35 to 74. They weren’t shift workers, daytime sleepers or pregnant when the study began.

Women who slept with a light on were 17% more likely to gain 11 pounds or more over five years, the study found. And the level of artificial light seemed to matter, Park said.

“For example, using a small nightlight was not associated with weight gain, whereas women who slept with a light or television on were,” he explained.

The findings didn’t change when researchers accounted for women’s diet and physical activity, which suggests that light during sleep may be important in weight gain and obesity.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn., reviewed the findings. He said the link between exposure to artificial light at night and obesity may not indicate that one causes the other.

“As with any study of association, two findings are true — true, but not directly related,” he said.

The key takeaway relates to poor sleep, Katz suggested.

“Sleep deficiency and impairment is a known obesity risk factor, for reasons ranging from mood and reduced restraint, to changes in hormonal balance,” he said.

It’s also possible that reliance on artificial light at night and obesity are both linked to other factors, such as “loneliness, anxiety or some form of social insecurity,” Katz said.

The report was published online June 10.

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Nix That TV in Your 4-Year-Old’s Bedroom

TUESDAY, March 19, 2019 — Thinking about a TV for your young child? Based on new evidence, you might want to reconsider that.

Preschoolers who had a TV in their bedroom were at increased risk for poor eating habits, overweight/obesity and social/emotional struggles in their teens, Canadian researchers say.

“The early years are a critical period in a child’s development,” said study author Linda Pagani. She’s a professor at the University of Montreal School of Psycho-Education, in Quebec.

“Intuitively, parents know that how their children spend their leisure time will impact their well-being over the long term,” she said in a university news release.

The findings highlight the risks of too much of any type of screen time, according to the researchers.

“It’s clear that the many hours [kids] spend in front of the screen is having an effect on their growth and development, especially if the TV is in a private place like the bedroom,” Pagani said.

For the study, the investigators looked at more than 1,800 children in Quebec who were born between 1997 and 1998.

At age 13, those who had a TV in their bedroom at age 4 were more likely to have: “a significantly higher body mass index [BMI — an estimate of body fat based on weight and height]; more unhealthy eating habits; lower levels of sociability; and higher levels of emotional distress, depressive symptoms, victimization and physical aggression,” the findings showed.

These associations were independent of individual and family factors that could have caused such problems.

“The location of the TV seems to matter,” Pagani said.

“Having private access to screen time in the bedroom during the preschool years does not bode well for long-term health. The children in our study were born at a time when television was the only screen in the bedroom,” she added.

“Our research supports a strong stance for parental guidelines on the availability and accessibility of TVs and other devices,” Pagani concluded.

The study was recently presented in Paris at the International Convention of Psychological Science. It was also published in the journal Pediatric Research.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on screen time.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: March 2019 – Daily MedNews

Guys, a Noisy Bedroom May Not Be Good for Your Fertility

FRIDAY, July 7, 2017 — Men, take note: A quiet bedroom might make for strong, healthy sperm.

South Korean researchers found that men who slept where the noise level routinely exceeded that of a suburban neighborhood had worse fertility than men who rested in quieter quarters.

“I think any sort of stressor can contribute to infertility … and I would say bedroom noise can be a chronic stressor in sleep,” said Dr. James Nodler. He’s a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at Houston Methodist Hospital.

“It’s basically a protective feature by our bodies — if we’re under severe stress, now is not the time to reproduce,” added Nodler, who wasn’t involved in the new research.

About 15 percent of American couples are unable to conceive after a year of unprotected sex, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Factors contributing to infertility in either sex are wide-ranging; in men, they include problems with sperm concentration, movement or shape.

In the research, scientists from Seoul National University analyzed health insurance data on more than 206,000 men aged 20 to 59. Noise exposure levels were calculated by combining men’s residential location (using postal codes) and information from a national noise information system.

In the eight years covered by the data, about 3,300 of the men had an infertility diagnosis. After adjusting the data for factors such as age, income, smoking and body mass index (BMI), the researchers found men were 14 percent more likely to be diagnosed with infertility if exposed to night-time noise over 55 decibels. That’s equivalent to the noise generated by an air conditioner or a suburban street.

Earlier research found a similar association in women, with noise levels linked to an increased risk for premature birth, miscarriage and birth defects, the study authors noted.

Nodler explained that chronic noise in the bedroom may disrupt the release of a hormone known as GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) in the brain, which triggers the release of other hormones important to fertility.

“This is biologically plausible to me,” Nodler said. “If you disrupt GnRH, that throws the whole balance of fertility out of whack, both for men and women.”

Another U.S. fertility expert cautioned that the new research doesn’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship between noisy bedrooms and male infertility.

“It is possible that excessive exposure to high decibels is somehow associated with worsened semen [quality], but the study does not necessarily prove that prolonged noise exposure causes infertility,” said Dr. Jennifer Kawwass. She’s medical director of IVF and third party reproduction at Emory Reproductive Center in Atlanta.

To determine the exact biological reason for the link, Nodler said future research should measure hormone levels in men with noisier bedrooms compared to men with quieter bedrooms.

Nodler recommended that men concerned about their fertility keep noise levels down in the bedroom as well as practice good “sleep hygiene” measures. These include avoiding TV or any other screen time while in bed, he said.

“It’s an interesting topic to think about, that just reducing bedroom noise [may enhance] fertility,” Nodler added. “It’s definitely biologically plausible and — for anyone — having less bedroom noise is better for general health and fertility.”

The study, by Kyoung-Bok Min and Jin-Young Min, was published in the July issue of the journal Environmental Pollution.

More information

The American Pregnancy Association has more on male infertility.

Posted: July 2017 – Daily MedNews

House cat in Oregon attacks baby, traps family in bedroom

(Reuters) – A rampaging, 22-pound Oregon house cat with a “history of violence” attacked a baby and trapped a family and their dog in a bedroom at their Portland home before being captured by police, authorities said on Monday.

The Sunday evening incident began when the cat, a black-and-white Himalayan, scratched a 7-month-old baby in the face, according to Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sergeant Pete Simpson.

The baby’s father kicked the cat in the backside, which sent it into a rage, and the parents and baby, along with their dog, retreated into a bedroom as the father called police, Simpson said.

Meanwhile, the cat blocked the bedroom doorway and could be heard on the 911 call screeching loudly, Simpson said.

“He said that the cat has a history of violence,” Simpson said, referring to the father speaking to the 911 operator.

When officers arrived and entered the house, they saw the cat scurry into the kitchen. After it scrambled atop the refrigerator, officers snared it and put it in a travel-style kennel, Simpson said.

Safely behind bars, the cat was left in the custody of the family, Simpson said. It was not clear what they intend to do with the animal, he said.

The baby suffered some scratches to the face but was not seriously hurt, Simpson said.

While cases of out-of-control dogs are relatively common, Simpson said, he could not recall in his 20 years with the Portland police a similarly ferocious feline.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in Olympia, Wash. Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Steve Orlofsky)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Is Your Teen’s Bedroom a Health Hazard?

Could your teen’s bedroom be a health hazard? With the piles of crusty socks, the old cereal bowls of curdled milk, and the mildewed towels, it certainly might look — and smell — that way.

Happily, as disgusting as your teen’s messy room might be, it’s unlikely to pose any serious health risks. “I’ve never seen any teenager who actually got sick because her room was unsanitary,” says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD,a pediatrician and author of Mommy Calls and The Wonder Years.

Of course, whether or not your teen’s messy room meets the Department of Health’s legal definition of a health hazard isn’t really the issue. If your teen’s bedroom is disgusting, and it bothers you, you need to do something about it.

“Teenagers need to learn how to look after themselves, and cleaning their rooms is part of that,” says Charles Wibbelsman, MD, chairman of the Chiefs of Adolescent Medicine for Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and co-author of The Teenage Body Book. It’s a basic responsibility and a skill they’ll need as adults, he says.

So how can you get your teen to keep his or her room clean, or at least somewhat less disgusting? Here’s some advice from the experts.

What Lurks in Your Teen’s Bedroom?

Unless your kid is using his room to harbor wild animals or make explosives, he’s probably not created a genuine health hazard. But it still might get plenty yucky.

“If you can smell your teen’s room down the hall — because of old food or old laundry — that’s not sanitary,” Altmann tells WebMD. “And it could even conceivably pose some health problems.” Like what?

  • Mold. Depending on the weather, it won’t take long for mold to start growing on a half-eaten sandwich. Large amounts of mold could actually affect the air quality and aggravate a person’s allergies or asthma.
  • Insects and other pests. As you’ve no doubt already said to your teen a thousand times, dirty dishes attract insects — like ants and cockroaches — as well as other pests like mice and rats. Dust mites can thrive in clutter. Finding any of these creatures in your house is disgusting. But some can carry disease as well as trigger allergies and asthma, Altmann says.
  • Bacteria and other fungi. Some nasty things can grow on unwashed, damp clothing in a messy room. And if your teen keeps wearing the clothes pulled off the floor rather than out of the bureau, he could develop rashes and other problems — like jock itch, which is caused by a fungus.


Messy Rooms: Getting Your Kid to Clean Up

While you may be horrified by the revolting things that you discover in your teen’s bedroom, you may still feel powerless to do anything about them. Asking, pleading, and screaming don’t seem to work. So how should a parent handle it?

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