According to an article posted on Time.com, exposure to dim lighting at night may lead to depressive symptoms. A study conducted at Ohio State University Medical Center found
hamsters with chronic exposure to dim light lenses at night showed signs of depression within a matter of weeks. They had reduced physical activity compared to their counterparts living in normal light-dark conditions. They also had less of a desire for sugar water which is a treat for hamsters. According to Tracy Bedrosian who authored the study, “The results we found in hamsters are consistent with what we know about depression in humans.”
Mood disorders are not the only health condition linked to artificial lighting and screen time at night. The American Medical Association did a study where it was found that artificial lights disrupt circadian rhythms and alter the body’s normal hormonal response. Specifically when people spend too little time in darkness, the body suppresses release of melatonin hormone which is thought to fight tumor growth and cancer, among other things.
The good news is this can be undone. All anyone has to do is simply switch back to a regular light-dark cycle and minimize exposure to artificial light at night. The hamsters in the study had this done to them and within a week their depressive symptoms vanished.
According to Bedrosian, the prevalence of depression has increased in humans over the course of the last fifty years. Light pollution can come from an array of things such as TV screens, computer screens, electronic displays and ambient sources of light fixtures in our daily lives.
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