Did you know that when you turn on a light to do a little bedtime reading, you are putting your health at risk? Nighttime lighting can throw off your sleep schedule and disrupt your body’s internal clock. Being deprived of sleep can lead to illness and diseases like depression, memory loss, cancer, and more.
Potential hazards from lighting
Exposure to certain lights has been scientifically shown to disrupt sleep, alter circadian rhythms, and exacerbate migraine symptoms. It also inhibits the body’s ability to produce the hormone melatonin.
Melatonin is a big part of the body’s process in preparing for sleep. It makes you tired and decreases your alertness. Low levels of melatonin have been linked to metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Circadian rhythm is the technical name for your body’s internal clock. It is a 24-hour cycle that controls when your body sleeps, along with functions like growth, blood pressure, appetite, body temperature, and the release of some hormones.
“The primary human concerns with nighttime lighting include… potential carcinogenic effects related to melatonin suppression, especially breast cancer. Other diseases that may be exacerbated by circadian disruption include obesity, diabetes, depression and mood disorders, and reproductive problems,” wrote the American Medical Association in its official statement regarding nighttime lighting.
Harmful effects of light can come from more than bulbs
Harmful effects can come from more than just exposure to light bulbs. High energy light sources, such as computers, TV screens, tablets, and smartphones, can greatly disrupt your sleep and health.
“And think about how many people look at Facebook at 2 a.m. That is way more disruptive, but this is certainly a good start [and] we need to keep increasing awareness in a larger population that light at the wrong time of day can harm you,” commented Paolo Sassone-Corsi, director of the Center of Epigenetics and Metabolism at the School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine. Sassone-Corsi has authored studies on circadian rhythms, metabolism, and the negative effect on health from artificial light source exposure.
Being exposed to light sources that stimulate the body during evening hours will definitely upset your body’s natural rhythm of sleep and wakefulness. Consider setting aside an hour or two before bedtime to turn off the TV, computer, or phone, and begin to unwind for bed with a hot bath and candlelight.
Source: The Alternative Daily
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