Doctor reveals why you should never fall asleep in front of the TV

A doctor has warned against a sleeping act we’re all guilty of, saying it could lead to diabetes, weight gain and high blood pressure.

In a video on his popular TikTok page, American emergency doctor Joe Whittington said that falling asleep with your TV on could be doing more harm than you think.

“Falling asleep with the TV on may actually shorten your life and negatively affect your health. Here’s why,” Dr Whittington said, before referring to a 2022 study conducted by researchers at Chicago’s Northwestern University School of Medicine.

The study of more than 550 participants, aged between 63 and 84, had them wear watches to bed so experts could measure the amount of ambient light they were exposed to at night, and its subsequent impact on their health conditions.

“The study found those that slept with even the slightest amount of ambient lighting in the room were more likely to suffer diabetes, obesity and hypertension,” Dr Whittington said.

“What they found was people who slept with dim lighting, such as from a TV or even a smartphone, the next morning had higher levels of insulin resistance, thereby affecting people’s ability to regulate glucose levels.

“The differences in obesity and diabetes in participants was quite staggering.”

To “give yourself the best chance of a long and happy life”, Dr Whittington advised people “black out the lights, put on some white noise and live forever … or maybe just longer”.

“Don’t fall asleep with the TV on,” he urged.

Singapore-based Dr Samuel Choudhury also previously weighed in on the Northwestern University study, saying its findings were “consistent” with research carried out in Japan.

“The Japanese study also found light at night increases your risk of obesity. The study found mice exposed to light at night were more likely to be obese and have diabetes,” Dr Choudhury said.

“Light at night also lowers your melatonin levels which have been shown in some studies to increase your risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Some of you may be asking, ‘Why is this killing me?’ Because diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are the major risk factors for developing heart disease.

“Granted that better studies are needing (but) there is no harm in practising better sleep habits.”

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