The dangers of artificial light

11 Dec

I have written a number of times about the importance of sleep for memory. Here is an article from the magazine In These Times describing how artificial light poses a danger to our sleep wake cycles.

According to the article:

“In outdoor lighting, a cool tint has significant drawbacks. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Environmental Management, when blue light seeps into people’s homes at night through windows or slats in blinds, it can alter circadian rhythms and suppress melatonin production, leading to difficulty sleeping. A low melatonin level has also been linked to breast and prostate cancer. What’s more, blue light contains ultraviolet light, which cannot be seen, but can damage retinas and contribute to macular degeneration. Abraham Haim, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Chronobiological Research at the University of Haifa and coauthor of the study, urges that “short wavelengths should be eliminated from the nocturnal spectrum.”

“According to an American Medical Association report, other health problems that may be exacerbated by the light “include obesity, diabetes, depression and mood disorders, and reproductive problems.” In 2012, the American Medical Association formally recommended that more research be conducted “on the risks and benefits of vocational and environmental exposure to light-at-night, the risk of cancer and the exacerbation of chronic diseases.””

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One Response to “The dangers of artificial light”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Blue light disrupts student’s circadian rhythm | peakmemory - December 13, 2013

    […] I wrote again a few days ago about the dangers of artificial light. I received my copy of Education Week today with a front page story: “ ’Blue Light’ May Impair Students’ Sleep, Studies Say”  The article cites work by Charles A. Czeisler. Here is a piece by Czeisler in the science journal Nature. […]

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