Too much light at night! – If you find yourself staying up late waiting for Santa, here’s something you should know: Too much light at night can lead to symptoms of depression. Most intensive care units are brightly lit all night long, which researchers have learned leads to depression, the last thing these patients need. If you’re feeling blue and your bedroom looks out on a row of streetlights, maybe you should take a cue from this study.

Sleep scientists found that mice housed in a lighted room 24 hours a day exhibited more depressive symptoms than did similar mice that had a normal light-dark cycle, but if they could escape into a dark tube when they wanted to, they were less depressed. Researcher Laura Fonken says, “Constant light with no chance of escape increased depressive symptoms.” The results suggest that more attention needs to be focused on how artificial lighting affects emotional health in humans.

Researcher Randy Nelson says, “Many people are now exposed to unnatural light cycles, and that may have real consequences for our health.”

New discoveries about how our body clocks work may help solve the problem of jet lag AND insomnia. It turns out there are TWO sets of cells in the brain that tell our bodies, one groups that tells us when to be awake and another that tells us when to sleep. We can’t sleep or become jet jagged when these two sets of cells become uncoordinated.

In BBC News, Dave Lee quotes neuroscientist Hugh Piggins as saying, “There’s a lot of interest in the pharmaceutical industry, obviously, to try to develop chemical treatments to reset your daily clock to help counteract things like jetlag. Or, perhaps more importantly, different kind of sleep disorders for which dysfunctions in this clock are often involved.”

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