By Dr. John Huntington
Special to the Nugget
Or at least not in your bedroom, as light at night alters hormone production and timing resulting in ill health.
All life on this planet, including us humans, have adapted to our environment over thousands of generations. Make a rapid change in these relationships and trouble follows.
One ‘rapid change’ that has happened is electric lighting being widely available, this in just the last hundred years or so. Prior to this time, fire and candle light were our only illumination after dark – and most didn’t stay up till midnight watching the fire like it was a talk show host till midnight! In fact, a nice warm fire readies you for sleep.
Compare this to the blue light emitted by computer screens and most light bulbs, which set off cortisol production, waking you up. It also stops evening and nighttime melatonin production, a hormone vital to our immune function.
Low melatonin can results in heart complications and increased cancer risk. Night shift workers’ have a 50% higher rate of breast cancer than day workers and blind women, who have less light disruption to their melatonin production, have very low rates of this disease.
You can help yourself reset your normal hormone patterns by getting in the sun daily, turning lights down early in the evening, and buying non-blue or full-spectrum light bulbs (which are closer to the red and yellow light a candle makes).
If you use a computer, a great app you can download for free is f.lux. This will allow you to shift your screen away from blue, especially important in evening and nighttime use.
As I want to emphasize in each of these columns, what we DO makes what we ARE. We can do things that will give us more health-bang-for-the-buck than any pill.
In this case, you have a great excuse to turn in early! You know you will be healthier and have, hopefully, many more sunny days and sweet dreams in the dark.
Dr. Huntington practices Chiropractic, Biomedical Acupuncture and Physiotherapy in Oracle, Az. 520-896-9844 firstname.lastname@example.org.