New research from Northwestern University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (March 14), shows that if you sleep with a light on — even a light so dim that you can't read by it — this triggers your adrenaline (sympathetic nervous system) to remain active during sleep.
Why is this important? Because one of the reasons for nonrestorative sleep in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia is that the nervous system gets stuck in high adrenaline mode during sleep. So even the sleep they do get is nonrestorative.
The study also shows that being stuck in adrenaline mode during sleep triggers insulin resistance, which translates to weight gain. So, this may be one more cause of the average 32 ½ pound weight gain commonly seen in patients with CFS and fibromyalgia.
The bottom line? Wearing a sleep mask to black out any ambient light during sleep may make your rest more restorative, and maybe even help you shed a few pounds.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.