How Light is Making You Fat, Sick, and Mean. And What to Do About It.
Is Artificial Light Bad For You?
In the past few years, there have been a lot more studies on sleep and its effects on health, as well as on light and its effects on sleep.
In 2013 alone, there were 3 awesome studies that have focused on “Light at Night” (pretty self-explanatory):
Each study was different in a number of ways (which animal was used as the test-subject, the type of health effect being studied, etc.), but the similarity among all 3 was the same…
Getting light at night (especially if it’s chronic) is terrible for your health
Among other things, these studies found that you’re much more likely to be obese if you chronically get light at night. (None of these studies address the exact amount of light at night you’d need to get, but the results generally indicate that even small amounts will start increasing your risk of health problems.)
In addition – and this is likely to be one of several underlying reasons that light at night causes so many other problem – light at night leads to excessive and chronic inflammation. As you’re probably aware by now, chronic inflammation is at the heart of most major illnesses and generally leads to bad outcomes in the long run.
Finally, light at night makes us mean. (This wasn’t actually how the study phrased it, but it does affect our mood regulation.) This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, since not sleeping enough tends to make most people grumpier. However, it’s not just the amount of sleep, but also the quality, which is affected by light.
What You Can Do
Especially during sleep and for the couple hours prior to bed, turn off as many lights as possible.
I’m a big hypocrite in this respect, as I can almost never force myself to do it, but when I do on occasion, I definitely get better sleep and feel more relaxed.
There are other “hacks,” such as wearing blue-blocker glasses after dark. This will help block most of the lights that will stimulate your brain and keep you wired and awake.
But in the end, it’s all about getting out of the artificial light as much as possible.