Why Your Nightlight Could Be Dangerous For Your Heart

Ten years of research suggests that keeping a light on while you sleep might be doing unintentional damage to your health.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. No one likes to feel tricked, especially about their health. That’s why every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness with quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • What your step count can tell you about your brain

  • Should you worry about soy?

  • Don’t sleep on this health threat

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The Better Memory Workout

Are you starting to feel more forgetful or worried about your memory? It's time to check your step count. 

Research suggests that walking helps you fight memory loss and strengthen your brain. 

The study focused on older adults and found that those who walked for 30 minutes per day, four times per week, improved their memory and processing, connectivity, and creativity. 

A daily stroll might improve memory for many reasons. At the most basic level, a little bit of cardio improves blood flow to your brain and strengthens “network connectivity,” which is how different brain regions interact. 

But that’s not all: walking also appears to increase BDNF, a protein that helps your neurons survive — and generate new ones — for a healthier brain.

Walking doesn’t get much fanfare, but it’s frequently associated with better longevity, less cognitive impairment, and a higher likelihood of fighting diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Should You Worry About Soy?

Some people say that soy is dangerous for men. Others say it’s fine. But instead of hurling “soy boy” insults, the research paints a different picture than what you’ve been told.

A recent analysis of 41 studies found that soy consumption does not impact male sex hormones, even if consumed in very high amounts daily. And it has potential protective benefits for women, too. 

But that’s not the only reason you might want to include soy in your diet. Studies suggest that a soy-heavy, vegan diet supports muscle growth and strength just as much as an omnivorous way of life. In fact, when compared head-to-head, soy appears to be just as beneficial. 

People fear soy because it contains phytoestrogens. However, based on current research, the concern that phytoestrogens would increase estrogen in men and cause significant changes to your hormones has not been proven. 

Instead, soy appears to be a safe diet option with a great amino acid profile, especially for anyone trying to limit animal protein, dairy, or eggs. 

Don’t Sleep On This Health Threat

Your nightlight might help you see better in the dark, but it could be unintentionally damaging your heart.

Recent studies suggest that light in your bedroom while you sleep could lead to cardiovascular problems and other health issues. 

It might seem like science fiction, but the relationship between “artificial light at night” (or ALAN) and general health has been studied over the past two decades. Nearly ten years ago, researchers started to see a link between how nighttime light exposure affects your circadian rhythm, which sets off a domino effect of health problems. The light can suppress your natural melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. But it’s not just your rest that is disrupted; when you experience “circadian misalignment,” it can also lead to psychological, cardiovascular, and metabolic issues. 

The most recent study found that nighttime light increases variability in your blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are associated with cardiovascular health problems. 

And it’s not the first time we’ve seen this connection. Recently, researchers examined 20 people in a sleep lab and found that those who slept in dimly lit rooms for just two nights had higher heart rates and increased insulin resistance (poor management of glucose in your blood) compared to those who slept in the dark. 

Just one more reason why you’ll want to turn your lights a little dimmer at night, reduce your blue light exposure before you sleep, and make sure you keep your room as dark as possible when you sleep. 

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell