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Artificial light exposure, lack of sunlight tied to cancer, diabetes and depression, evidence shows

Artificial light

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(NaturalNews) Natural light from the sun is very important to the general health and well-being of humans. Recent research has reinforced this; humans need to have regular and prolonged exposure to this natural light so they can experience optimal health.

According to one research team, however, not all the news is good.

For many people, a sort of double-whammy ensues in that they not only don't get sufficient sunlight during the day, but that during the evening, they surround themselves with unnatural lights that researchers say is physiologically unsettling.

A simple solution can make the difference between a person's mood as well as their overall health. Implementing these methods on a regular basis can even help ward off chronic diseases.

Let's take a closer look at what researchers found about artificial light exposure.

From sleep disruptions to developing cancers, researchers warn of artificial light

For 30 years, Richard Stevens, a cancer epidemiologist at UConn Health, has been studying how the human body reacts to artificial lighting.

His latest research hones in on the tendency of humans to spend a great deal of time indoors and away from the sun, followed by hours in the dark surrounded by artificial lighting. For example, many people rest in bed in the evening browsing through their laptop or cell phone, basked in the glow of light that's emitted from these devices.

His team discovered that those who used e-readers had more reduced levels of the sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin, in their system compared to study participants who read a physical paper book.

"It's become clear that typical lighting is affecting our physiology," says Stevens. "We're learning that better lighting can reduce these physiological effects. By that we mean dimmer and longer wavelengths in the evening, and avoiding the bright blue of e-readers, tablets, and smart phones."

Simply put, the body was designed to be immersed in natural light for many hours a day, not artificial light for long periods of time at night.

Surrounding ourselves with such lighting can lead to serious health problems beyond sleep disruptions.

Steven's adds that "there's growing evidence that the long-term implications of this have ties to breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, and depression, and possibly other cancers."

"Too much light at night" problematic for health

Along with a co-author of his study, which was published in the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Stevens expressed that though time, artificial lighting has become increasingly problematic.

An abstract from the journal states:

Over the past 3 billion years, an endogenous circadian rhythmicity has developed in almost all life forms in which daily oscillations in physiology occur. This allows for anticipation of sunrise and sunset.

It's explained that such rhythms are based on a 24-hour cycle. But the article published in the journal says that changes in people's habits have altered this. It says:

However, since the introduction of electric lighting, there has been inadequate light during the day inside buildings for a robust resetting of the human endogenous circadian rhythmicity, and too much light at
night for a true dark to be detected; this results in circadian disruption and alters sleep/wake cycle, core body temperature, hormone regulation and release, and patterns of gene expression throughout the

The harm of blue light, simple solutions to this modern issue

Today's modern devices -- from smart phones and tablets to e-readers -- emit a blue light that is harmful to people. As mentioned, this artificial blue light changes the body's own natural circadian rhythm while also suppressing melatonin, the human body's sleep-inducing hormone.

Such lighting of what should otherwise remain a naturally dark environment impacts every living thing from humans and animals to plants and insects.

Steven's notes that this study reinforces what many others have touched on in that artificial light can be detrimental to overall health. However, he says that people do not need to deprive themselves of light at night time.

Instead, he suggests people switch from e-readers to old fashioned books when reading in the evening in order to minimize disruption to the body. "It doesn't mean you have to turn all the lights off at eight o'clock every night," he says, "it just means if you have a choice between an e-reader and a book, the book is less disruptive to your body clock."

Lights that help maintain a human's circadian rhythm at night tend to be dim and red like that emitted by incandescent bulbs, so giving those lights consideration is also recommended.










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