Saturday, April 07, 2018 by Jessica Dolores
For years, scientists have linked depression to mental, emotional, and psychological factors. They attributed depression to problems with family and friends, too much stress, certain medications and alcohol. However, a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology points to a different culprit: that tiny nighttime light in the bedroom.
Researchers studied almost 900 elderly people in Japan for two years and evaluated them for signs of depression. The scientists also tested the elderly subjects’ sleep/wake patterns throughout the night. They factored in weight, illness history, smoking/drinking habits, income and medications. After two years, researchers found that those who were exposed to over five “lux” of light per night ended up more depressed. One lux is equal to light from a candle located a meter away; Five lux is equal to the amount of light you get from a street lamp entering a darkened bedroom window.
Those exposed to more than five lux of nighttime light in the study comprised a minority in the study. There were only 150 of them. Still, this small group raised their chances of developing depression by as much as 65 percent after two years. This finding supports earlier research suggesting that LAN (light-at-night) disturbs sleep, prevents secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin, and disrupts sleep/wake behavior.
These symptoms, the study goes on, are part of depression.
Adults are not the only ones who suffer when the lights are on in the bedroom at night. Children and adolescents, whose brain, sleep patterns, and eyes are still underdeveloped, suffer too. Professor Monique LeBourgeois of the University of Colorado Boulder reports that majority of studies show that children and teens who spend more time on screen-based media are likely to have sleep problems. Over five dozen studies of adolescents aged five to 17 all over the world showed that more screen time led to “delayed bedtimes, fewer hours of sleep, and poorer sleep quality.”
LeBourgeois describes light is the “brain clock’s primary timekeeper.” It suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin when it hits the retina of the eye at night. She adds that since younger people have larger pupils, their lenses are more transparent, and they are more sensitive to light.
Besides turning off all lights in your bedroom, along with tablets and smartphones at night, what can you do to get your much-needed sleep?
Here are other ways to get enough shut-eye time.
It’s not really a secret: Getting a good night’s rest is really as simple as detoxing yourself from the seduction of technology. Find more helpful hints on how to have a cleaner, healthier body at Detox.news.
Tagged Under: Tags: bad technology, bedroom temperature, causes of depression, circadian rhythm, Clinical depression, depression, effects of technology, good sleep habits, good sleeping habits, hormone balance, levels of melatonin, melatonin, mental depression, mental health, natural medicine, proper sleep, sleep, sleep and relaxation, sleep habits, sleep patterns