(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

BY CHRISTIAN BRYANT       

Feeling a little... down? A Johns Hopkins University study suggests burning the midnight oil may be burning out morale. All due to nighttime light exposure.

The study exposed lab mice to 3.5 hours of light followed by 3.5 hours of darkness. Researcher and Professor Samer Hattar explains how his study using lab mice yielded the results:

“...If you expose animals to light at night, independent of disruption of sleep or sleep related rhythms... can directly affect depression and learning and memory.”

The reason: Light activates photoreceptor cells within the eyes that awake the brain’s center of emotion, learning and memory when it should be resting.

But how does this study relate to humans? Researchers believe that depression and learning deficits can set in for people who stay up late and sleep in.

But that’s not it. Studies show that overexposure to artificial light from, let’s say, laptops and tablets can negatively affect circadian rhythm, the body’s day-night cycle.

A professor from Deakin University told MSN:
"We know the body's circadian clock is set by light –– you need bright light in the morning to tell your brain to wake up and you need darkness at night to tell you to shut down the components of your circadian biology that tell you to sleep.”

It’s all very complex, but according to Hattar, the fix is simple.

“We think that you should be exposed to bright light and go outside during the day, and avoid very bright light or more blue shifted bright lights at night...”

Light Overexposure at Nighttime Linked to Depression

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Nov 17, 2012

Light Overexposure at Nighttime Linked to Depression

(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

BY CHRISTIAN BRYANT       

Feeling a little... down? A Johns Hopkins University study suggests burning the midnight oil may be burning out morale. All due to nighttime light exposure.

The study exposed lab mice to 3.5 hours of light followed by 3.5 hours of darkness. Researcher and Professor Samer Hattar explains how his study using lab mice yielded the results:

“...If you expose animals to light at night, independent of disruption of sleep or sleep related rhythms... can directly affect depression and learning and memory.”

The reason: Light activates photoreceptor cells within the eyes that awake the brain’s center of emotion, learning and memory when it should be resting.

But how does this study relate to humans? Researchers believe that depression and learning deficits can set in for people who stay up late and sleep in.

But that’s not it. Studies show that overexposure to artificial light from, let’s say, laptops and tablets can negatively affect circadian rhythm, the body’s day-night cycle.

A professor from Deakin University told MSN:
"We know the body's circadian clock is set by light –– you need bright light in the morning to tell your brain to wake up and you need darkness at night to tell you to shut down the components of your circadian biology that tell you to sleep.”

It’s all very complex, but according to Hattar, the fix is simple.

“We think that you should be exposed to bright light and go outside during the day, and avoid very bright light or more blue shifted bright lights at night...”

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