Monday, July 30, 2012

Health: Does sleeping with a night-light cause depression?

Does sleeping with a night-light cause depression?:
New evidence from Ohio State University found that a dim light at night — whether it comes from a night-light, or staying up late in front of a computer or TV — may be making you depressed.

Artificial light disrupts our natural circadian rhythms, which may in turn alter the body’s hormone levels. “When people spend too little time in darkness, it seems that the body suppresses release of the hormone melatonin,” says Laura Blue at TIME, which is thought to fight a myriad of conditions, including tumor growth and cancers. According to the American Medical Association, interrupting the body’s circadian rhythm could also lead to obesity, diabetes, and reproductive problems.
The team speculates that artificial light may be part of the reason depression rates have soared in recent decades. There is good news, however: When the afflicted hamsters were again allowed to sleep a full eight hours per night in the dark, their depressive symptoms disappeared completely. This offers gloomy night owls some hope, says Bedrosian. “People who stay up late in front of the television and computer may be able to undo some of the harmful effects just by going back to a regular light-dark cycle and minimizing their exposure to artificial light.”
Source: The Week

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