People who sleep less than seven hours a night produce less melatonin than average and are more likely to be obese. Studies with rats have shown that they gain weight faster if fed a fat-rich diet than if fed a normal diet. However, if given melatonin along with the fat diet, the extra weight gain is avoided. Night shift workers are more likely to be obese than workers on day shift. Night shift workers make less melatonin than day workers. Exposing the eyes to light suppresses the production of melatonin. Rats reared under continuous light develop fat tissue. Rats reared under normal light/dark conditions do not. All these observations point to a new understanding of how exposing the eyes to ordinary light during the time when melatonin would normally be flowing results in a higher risk for obesity.
By wearing glasses that block blue light for a few hours before bedtime (or using light bulbs that do not produce blue light) allows for maximizing the production of melatonin. Avoiding becoming obese is another benefit to maximizing melatonin. Others include, improved sleep, reduced risk of cancer, improved mental health.
According to a new study the mechanism by which melatonin helps to avoid obesity is its ability to stimulate the conversion of fatty tissue into heat. This conversion of fat into heat gets rid of the excess fat.
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