Bright Indoors Light During Day May Aid Blood Sugar

When it comes to helping your blood sugar stay in the normal range, we usually talk about diet, exercise and sleep. But, one way to aid your blood sugar may be altering the lights inside your home. Having bright lights during the day and dimmer lights in the evening may boost cardiometabolic health.

Results from a randomized trial found that people who had bright indoor lights in the daytime and lower lights at night had lower blood glucose levels and burned more energy than those with the opposite combination. The results suggest that lighting in homes should do its best to mimic natural light cycles as closely as possible to aid blood sugar.

The trial was small, with only 14 participants. Everyone in the study had a regular bedtime of around 11 o’clock and slept between seven and nine hours. They were kept in respiration chambers with controlled light periods for 40 hours. They wore actigraphs to measure sleep patterns before and during the study. Their energy expenditure, metabolic rate and more information were calculated based on their oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production. Fasting blood sugar samples and blood tests after meals were taken throughout the study. So, while it was a small study and it should perhaps be repeated with more participants, it was comprehensive.

Other aspects of the study were also meticulously controlled. The meal timing and food they ate were kept exactly the same, no matter which light schedule they were on. The room temperature was kept steady. The amount of time they spent sitting, standing and exercising was all the same. And the same people repeated both light patterns — the group wasn’t split; they all tried both light options.

However, there is one drawback. The study did not look at how light from screens impacts health and blood sugar. That seems like a big thing to overlook. Many people spend most of their day looking at a screen, be it a computer, tablet, TV or smartphone. Considering how much light these devices give off, that could have a significant impact.

Optimizing light conditions, including bright light during the day and dim light during the night, affects 24-hour metabolism in humans and may be important to improving metabolic health,” for people with blood sugar concerns, according to Dr. Patrick Schrauwen of Maastricht Univ. He hopes that his finds will lead to another, longer and more extensive study to confirm this research.

Banner image: Phil Desforges via Unsplash

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