• Study sheds light on risk of artificial light at night
  • Artificial light at night alters our circadian rhythm
  • Changes in our circadian rhythm impair the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels

According to a new study, being exposed to outdoor artificial light at night, such as street lights, and urban light pollution, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers analysed data from the China Noncommunicable Disease Surveillance Study, which included a sample of the general population from 162 different areas in 2010.

Participants’ weight, body mass index and blood samples were taken to establish HbA1c.

Participants were then assigned an average outdoor light-at-night exposure level based on image data of the Earth from the US Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Light exposure was divided into five groups ranging from most to least exposure.

The study revealed that the group with the highest exposure to light-at-night had a 28% increase in diabetes prevalence when compared to the group with the lowest exposure.

This is because of the interference the light had on the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate our circadian rhythms.

Artificial light at night disrupts the human body clock, compromising the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

The study reports that “Our findings contribute to the growing evidence that light-at-night [LAN] is detrimental to health and point to outdoor LAN as a potential novel risk factor for [type 2] diabetes.”

The paper was published in Diabetologia journal.

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