Sleeping: full light in the daytime, no light in the bedroom at night

Electric light impacts people’s circadian rhythms and can disrupt sleep, a new report reveals. Experts say people should be exposed to bright light during the day and evening to help support healthy body rhythms, restful sleep, and daytime alertness.

Researchers say light affects our daily rhythms of sleep and alertness through a specialized cell in the eye using a light-sensitive protein called melanopsin. According to a new study published in the journal PLOS Biology, the light that humans are exposed to in their daily lives strongly influences body rhythms. Constant access to electric lights, combined with reduced exposure to natural sunlight, leads to sleep disturbances.

According to the study, this combination has a negative impact on human health, well-being and productivity. Research also recommends exposing people to bright light during the day and evening to contribute to healthy body rhythms, restful sleep, and daytime alertness.

What there is to know

An international team of scientists led by Timothy Brown, PhD, of Britain’s University of Manchester, and Kenneth Wright, PhD, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, have developed what they consider to be one of the first consensus recommendations based on evidence for healthy exposure to light during the day, evening and night.

“These recommendations provide the first scientific consensus, quantitative guidance for appropriate daily patterns of light exposure to support healthy body rhythms, nighttime sleep and daytime alertness,” Brown said in a statement. “It now provides a clear framework to inform how we light any indoor space, ranging from workplaces, educational establishments and healthcare facilities to our own homes. »

Specific receptors in the eyes

The guidelines will be intended to help the lighting and electronics industries design healthier environments and improve the way we light homes, workplaces and public buildings. Researchers say light affects our daily patterns of sleep and alertness through a specialized cell in the eye that uses a light-sensitive protein called melanopsin, which is different from the rod and cone proteins in the eye. eyes that support vision (on which traditional methods of measuring “brightness” are based).

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Melanopsin is more sensitive to light residing in a specific part of the visual spectrum (blue-cyan light). The team developed a new light measurement standard tailored to this unique property, called melanopic equivalent illuminance. The researchers analyzed data from a series of laboratory and field studies, which they say prove that the new measurement method can reliably predict the effects of light on human physiology and body rhythms. .

In doing so, it could allow the team to come up with meaningful and widely applicable recommendations on how we should use, and not use, light in our daily lives. The researchers say their next step will be to incorporate these recommendations into official lighting guidelines, which currently focus on visual requirements rather than the effects of light on health and well-being. They expect that the increasing sophistication of LED lighting technology and the availability of low-cost light sensors will make it easier to optimize personal light exposure to best support the body’s rhythms. .

How screens can affect your health

A study published in the journal PNAS by the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine looks at the negative effects of light on sleep and human health.

Researchers found that sleeping for even a single night with dim lighting, such as a muted TV, increased heart rate and blood sugar levels in healthy young people . The dim light penetrated the eyelids and disrupted sleep, even if the subjects slept with their eyes closed.

The study pointed out that heart rate generally drops at night, slowing as the brain repairs and rejuvenates the body. Numerous studies have shown that an elevated heart rate at night can be a risk factor for future heart disease and early death.

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“The results of this study show that a single night of exposure to moderate ambient light during sleep can impair glucose and cardiovascular regulation, which are risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. said the study author and head of the school’s sleep medicine department. “It’s important for people to avoid or minimize light exposure during sleep.”

The Northwestern team recommended not turning on any lights while sleeping. If you must have a light on (for example, for security reasons), make it a dim light and closer to the ground. They also indicated that the color of the light was important.

Amber or red-orange light is less stimulating to the brain. Do not use white or blue light, and keep the light away from the sleeping person.

They also recommend blinds or eye masks for people who can’t control outside light, and you should move your bed so outside light doesn’t shine on your face.


Recommendations for daytime, evening, and nighttime indoor light exposure to best support physiology, sleep, and wakefulness in healthy adults

Light exposure during sleep impairs cardiometabolic function

* The information and services available on pressesante.com in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. [HighProtein-Foods.com]

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