It will seem funny to you, however, a new study conducted and published in the journal PLOS Biology states that electric light (and also that of the screens) that we suffer every day, heavily affect our body rhythms and our sleep.
According to what emergedBeing under electric lights every day combined with reduced exposure to natural sunlight leads to sleep disruptions.
All of this has a negative impact on human health, well-being and productivity.
How light (and screens) can affect our sleep
A study published in the journal PNAS from the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, focuses on the negative effects of light on sleep and human health.
I researchers found that sleeping even just one night in dim light, like that of a TV with the sound off, increases the heart rate and blood sugar levels of healthy young people.
The dim light penetrated the eyelids and disturbed sleep even though the subjects slept with their eyes closed.
The study pointed out that heart rate usually drops at night, slowing when the brain rests.
Numerous studies have shown that an elevated heart rate at night can be a risk factor for future heart disease and early death.
"The results of this study show that a single night of exposure to moderate lighting during sleep can compromise the regulation of glucose and the cardiovascular system, risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome," Phyllis Zee, MD and PhD, study author and primary school sleep medicine, told Northwestern Now.
"It is important to avoid or minimize exposure to light while sleeping."
The Northwestern team recommends not turning on any lights during the sonno. If you need to have a light on (for safety reasons, for example), it should be dim and closer to the floor.
The color of the light is also important.
A amber or red-orange light is less stimulating to the brain. Do not use white or blue light and keep the light away from sleepers.
The researchers also recommend using blackout curtains or eye masks for people who cannot control the outside light and moving the bed so that the light from outside is not directed at the face.
So is it better to sleep in the dark?
As a general ruleand, it is best to sleep in the dark as much as possible. Darkness reduces potential distractions and sleep disruptions.
As we understand, sleeping with the light on interferes with sleep cycles and causes more fragmented sleep, and these disadvantages can be greater in the few hours before waking up.
In addition to quality, there are other reasons why research indicates it's best to sleep in the dark:
- Eye fatigue: Low ambient light levels during sleep have also been associated with eye fatigue, resulting in soreness, fatigue and eye discomfort, as well as greater difficulty concentrating.
- Weight gain: Keeping the lights on during sleep appears to affect circadian regulation of metabolism, increasing the risk of weight gain even if sleep itself is not disturbed. In a five-year study, women who slept with the light or TV on were considerably more likely to gain 3 pounds or more, even after checking for factors related to diet and exercise habits.
- Cancer risk: An observational study found an association between people whose homes had high levels of artificial light at night and the risk of breast and prostate cancer. This study did not prove causation and more research is needed to understand this correlation.