Strange but True: Alarm Clocks Could Add Extra Pounds
You’re probably thinking I’ve lost my marbles. But I’m absolutely serious. Many modern alarm clocks have a feature that can contribute to obesity. And if you’re carrying a few extra pounds, you may be able to slim down just by ditching your alarm clock.
Here’s the story…
To begin with, when you’re not sleeping well, you tend to eat more. Scientists have known this for a long time. But a team at the University of California (UC) looked more closely at sleep-induced cravings.
Using brain scans, they noticed two key differences when people didn’t get enough sleep. After a poor night’s sleep, activity in the part of the brain responsible for complex decisions was down. But areas in charge of desire were more active.
So when you don’t sleep, it’s a double-whammy. You want more… and your judgment is clouded. And guess what they discovered you want more of?
No; not just food. Junk food. In this study, people who slept poorly craved junk food. Burgers, pizza and donuts were high on the list of desirable foods. Fruits and veggies scored way down at the bottom.1
So, yes, when you sleep less, you’ll probably eat more. But you’ll probably also head for the junk food aisle.
So what does this have to do with your alarm clock? It’s not that it wakes you up in the morning.
It’s that it may be affecting how well you sleep.
One of the helpful features on most of today’s alarm clocks is the brightly glowing numbers on the face. They help see what time it is if you wake up in the middle of the night.
You may like knowing you can fall back asleep for another two or three hours… but what if you’re only awake because of that handy feature?
New research form Ohio State University suggests this may be the case.
You see, you have special sensors in your eyes – called ipRGCs. These sensors don’t have much to do with normal vision. But they do help control your body’s internal clock.
Different colors of light trigger these sensor cells to send different messages to your brain. And blue light – the most popular color in those glowing alarm clocks tell your brain it’s time to wake up.
The Ohio State scientists were looking at light’s affect on moods. White and blue light caused physical changes in hamsters’ brains that gave them a bad case of the blues. Nighttime darkness was the healthiest option. But red light was almost as good.2
Now here’s where this ties in to you. TVs, computers and other electronic devices give off a lot of blue light – making you more wakeful. You use these devices, and then go to bed.
If your alarm clock is glowing bright blue, your brain is still getting “wake up” messages. The more your brain gets those messages, the worse you’ll sleep.
And the more you sleep, the more you’ll probably crave junk food.
For better sleep, avoid the TV and other bright electronic devices in the couple of hours before bed. And think about getting an alarm clock that glows red instead of blue.
Those extra pounds may just begin to melt off effortlessly.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Greer, S.M., et al, “The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain,” Nature Communications. Aug 6, 2013. 4. doi:10.1038/ncomms3259.
2 “What Color Is Your Night Light? It May Affect Your Mood,” ScienceDaily. Aug 6, 2013.
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