Intense Nighttime Light Exposure is Bad for Your Sleep Health

A recent study confirms that intense nighttime light exposure is not good for your sleep health. Maurice Ohayon, MD, DSC, Ph.D., a Stanford University scientist, said that exposure to intense nighttime light affects sleep duration, which is also linked to sleep disturbance.

According to the results, approximately 500,000 urban dwellers were more exposed to nighttime lights, which is three to six times more potent than rural dwellers. Intense nighttime light exposure was documented to have an effect on sleep duration and sleep disturbance.

Moreover, people exposed to this kind of light at night have six percent likelihood to sleep less than six hours a night compared to people exposed to less intense light. The study also noted fatigue.  People are more likely to wake confused during the evening.

Similarly, these individuals are likely to have excessive sleepiness and impaired functioning during the day. “Excessive exposure to light at night may affect how we function during the day and increase the risk if excessive sleepiness, “ Ohayon said.

He further stated that light pollution is global. However, exposure to the intense nighttime light poses health risks, especially for people living in the urban areas. Ohayon said that if this association is confirmed with other related studies, affected dwellers might want to reconsider wearing masks, to darken the shade of their room and other options to reduce the exposure to the intense nighttime light.

His data were based on an eight-year study involving over 15,000 people, interviewed by telephone. Each participant was asked about their sleep habits, quality of sleep and medical and psychiatric disorders. The data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program was also utilized on how much outdoor light those urban dwellers were exposed to during the night.

His research is yet to be presented, next month, April 15 to 21 at the 68th American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

Reference:

Can’t sleep? Street lights may be keeping you awake, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/aaon-css022216.php

Author: Amabelle Equio, Ph.D candidate in Nursing at Silliman University, Health, Fitness, Medical Writer, Photography Enthusiast.

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