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"Room Light before Bedtime May Impact Sleep Quality, Blood Pressure, and Diabetes Risk"

January 13, 2011

A study to appear in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology has found that exposure to electrical light before bed and during sleep suppresses melatonin production, possibly leading to heightened risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

The study, lead by Joshua Gooley, Ph.D., found that exposure to room light before bed time shortened melatonin duration when compared to dim light, and exposure to room light during normal sleep hours supressed melatonin by more than 50 percent. Melatonin suppression could effect sleep quality, blood pressure, and glucose levels leading to sleep deficiency, diabetes and hypertension. It has also been hypothesized that suppression of melatonin can increase risk for certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

The authors suggest that more research is needed to explore a possible link between melatonin suppression and increased risk of breast cancer, and to determine how melatonin regulates glucose metabolism.

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