While we are starting to pay attention to how important sleep is, the need for dark is still mostly ignored.
Being exposed to regular patterns of light and dark regulates our circadian rhythm. Disruption of this rhythm may increase the risk of developing some health conditions including obesity, diabetes and breast cancer.
On its own, the circadian rhythm takes almost 24 hours. Our bodies rely on the Sun to reset this cycle and keep it at 24 hours, the length of our days. Light and the dark are important signals for the cycle.
During the night, body temperature drops, metabolism slows, and the hormone melatonin rises dramatically. When the Sun comes up in the morning, melatonin has already started falling, and you wake up.
During the dark, levels of the hormone leptin (hunger control), go up. This means we do not feel hungry while low levels make us hungry.
Ans research found that sleep disruption and turning on lights lowers leptin levels which makes people hungry in the middle of the night.
Some kinds of light make you more alert and more awake, and others have less of an effect:
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