The health risks associated with artificial light during nighttime

Why artificial light at night is dangerous for your health

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Excessive exposure to artificial light at night, while crucial for the functioning of modern societies, has been highlighted in a recent study as posing significant risks to health. This includes an increased likelihood of developing conditions such as breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, depression, and other health issues. Researchers involved in the study have concluded that artificial nighttime lighting contributes to these health problems, underscoring the importance of understanding its potential dangers.

The study points out that prolonged and frequent exposure to brightly illuminated screens at night disrupts the body’s natural rhythm, heightening the risk of various medical conditions linked to poor sleep quality. With the rising prevalence of portable devices featuring glowing screens used for activities like internet browsing, reading, and social media engagement, the impact on user health becomes a growing concern.

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Moreover, artificial light interferes with the body’s ability to initiate sleep by impeding the activity of neurons responsible for regulating sleep and suppressing melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. This disruption of the body’s natural clock governing the sleep-wake cycle often leads individuals to engage in activities like checking email or watching TV late into the night. Chronic sleep deprivation resulting from such behaviors can exacerbate health risks, as sleep-deprived individuals may exhibit hyperactivity, which can be mistaken for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) over time.

The study

The study involved 12 participants who read on an iPad for four hours before bedtime over the course of five consecutive days. The same procedure was replicated using printed books. Results indicated that individuals who read on the iPad took longer to fall asleep and reported feeling less sleepy at night compared to those who read printed books. Additionally, iPad readers exhibited greater fatigue than book readers.

Based on these findings, researchers speculate that the hazards associated with artificial nighttime lighting may be even more pronounced than observed in the study.

What you can do

1. Prevent yourself from air pollutants

Given the established health risks associated with artificial light at night, it’s advisable to refrain from using light-emitting screens before bedtime whenever possible. If you find it necessary to use computers or other devices emitting light during nighttime hours, consider employing technology or software designed to filter out blue light.

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