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Study shows low hospital lighting levels makes patients more depressed, sick

Hospital lighting
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(NaturalNews) Sometimes people feel worse when they're in the hospital, and now all the jokes about iffy hospital food or long waiting room times can be put to rest. Turns out, there's truth to mood changes and worsening health while in a hospital, and it may be due to something as mundane as the lighting.

A study reported in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found a link between extremely low hospital room lighting levels and changes in a patient's ability to sleep well, tolerate pain and be in a good mood (1).

Consider this: While a typical office emits about 500 lux (light emission measurement), and a sunny outdoor environment offers about 100,000 lux, it was discovered that, on average, hospital patients are exposed to approximately only 105 lux. That's nearly five times lower than the lighting many people face while at work and significantly less than the 4,000 lux that's required for proper, healthy sleep!

Light deprivation and the mood connection

Researchers said, "Low light exposure significantly predicted fatigue and total mood disturbance." Participants in the study with the lowest exposures to light during the day reported a more depressed mood and fatigue than those exposed to more light.

Light plays a role in activating areas of the brain that regulate mood and overall function. Therefore, it's no surprise that patients in the study were in more of a depressed state and experiencined increased fatigue, as well as a reduced threshold for pain. So serious is light deprivation that many experts consider the malillumination-light link similar to the concept of inadequate nutrition leading to malnutrition: In both instances, without proper levels, it harms body and mind.

This is likely magnified during the winter months, when people are typically already experiencing mood-changes such as depression due to the darker season.

So vital is light, ideally natural sunlight, because it not only plays a role in boosting mood and improving sleep but can also help those with anorexia or epilepsy (2). Studies have even shown that not getting enough sunlight can lead to vitamin D deficiencies in pregnant women, in which case their children are more prone to develop cavities during their first dental exam (3).

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://www.reuters.com

(2) http://www.naturalnews.com

(3) http://www.naturalnews.com

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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