Bad news for anyone who uses an e-reader before bed: while you’re sharpening your mind, you’re also softening your waistline. Research shows that using technology at night could be seriously messing with your metabolism, reports NY Magazine.

According to a 2012 study, back-lit electronic devices can significantly suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep patterns. That means looking at your phone, tablet, or computer in the evening could make for a bad night’s rest. And it’s all downhill from there.

According to the article, you’re more likely to crave junk food when you’re tired, and less likely to exert self-control. “If we don’t sleep enough, our bodies produce more ghrelin, the hormone that tells us to eat, and less leptin, the hormone that tells us to stop.”


You’re also more likely to be a crankypants that no one wants to be around, which makes you lonely and sad, which leads to eating your feelings, which leads to more weight gain. (Okay, there’s no scientific research to back that up, but it sounds totally plausible to us.)

Of course, disrupted sleep may not be the only link between nighttime technology use and being overweight. Spending tons of time in front of a screen could point to a sedentary lifestyle in general; powering down your devices in the hours before bed isn’t a magic bullet for couch potatoes.

But it is a healthy habit to adopt, not least because a fairy dies every time you take a Buzzfeed quiz. Fact.

[via New York Magazine]