Electricity changed the way we sleep - Deepstash
A dark night is good for your health

A dark night is good for your health

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Electricity changed the way we sleep

  • Before electricity, people experienced bright, full-spectrum days of sunlight and dark nights. We slept in a different way than we do now.
  • Everything changed when electric lighting was invented in the latter part of the 19th century. Since then there has been an ever-increasing assault on dark.
  • Today, most of us get too little light during the day and too much at night for our circadian rhythm to function at its best.

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Our bodies in the dark

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.

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Your body needs dark too

Your body needs dark too

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.

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Not all light is the same

Some kinds of light make you more alert and more awake, and others have less of an effect:

  • Sunlight is strong in blue, short-wavelength light, although it includes all other colors as well. That’s important in the morning when we need to be alert and awake.
  • Your tablet, phone, computer or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) all emit this kind of blue light. So they are dangerous if used at night.
  • Other kinds of light, like dimmer long wavelength yellow and red light, have very little effect on this transition.

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Our sleep and wake patterns

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.

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Technology helps but it doesn't solve everything. I want to understand my own body.

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