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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease and Diabetes in One Easy Step

To lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes, and likely improve your health and well-being in general, you need to get your beauty rest. “Easier said than done,” you might say and roll your eyes. So many of us are sleep deprived, or often find ourselves just tired throughout the week. Sleep is something we all crave, but it eludes a lot of us for one reason or another. So how can you make the most of the little time you have to sleep? Turn off the light.

Ambient light keeps us awake, whether we know it or not. Studies show the sleeping body has a stimulated reaction to light. The autonomic nervous system is activated, which makes your heart beat faster. This can increase your insulin resistance the next day, making it harder for your cells to take in and use glucose for producing energy. Then that glucose stays in your bloodstream, where it does not belong, causing a rise in blood sugar levels. If this pattern happens repeatedly, overtime you could increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Ambient light can catch us in all sorts of ways. Maybe you don’t have your blinds closed all the way and cars frequently shine their headlights through your window. Maybe you fell asleep with the TV or your bedside light on.

Maybe your partner is playing games on their device right next to you for hours into the night. Whatever the reason, getting rid of that light can really help lower your risk for certain health concerns.

Having problems creating a dark space for sleeping? You can make these simple changes:

  1. Instead of leaving a light on, install some dim nightlights. The less light, the less your body will notice.

  2. Avoid blue lights before bedtime (i.e. cell phones). Blue light stimulates your brain more than amber or orange. If you have to use a light, make it a good old-fashioned bulb in a lamp.

  3. Purchase and use a sleep mask to cover your eyes. There are many kinds on the market right now, you just have to find the right fit.

  4. Purchase and install blackout curtains. Good ones can get pricey (you get what you pay for here!), so an alternative would be a thick/heavy cloth or fabric you could install around your window.

Source: Goggins, Leah. “Doing This Before Bed Could Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease and Diabetes, New Research Says.” Eating Well. 18 March 2022.

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