Recent findings are beginning to show that the amount of breast cancer cases caused by ambient lighting at night are rising, indicates Richard G. Stevens, PhD, a professor in the school of medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center who also authored one of these recent reviews. Worse still, there isn’t enough hard evidence to know all of the long-term health consequences caused by too much artificial light at night. “But we know that it cannot be good. Our circadian physiology is three billion years old,” Steven says. Every organism on Earth has an internal clock that naturally gets reset when the sun rises in the morning– which is directly connected to the amount of natural light we get exposed to each day, he quips.
While Stevens swears he’s not against electricity per se, he does suggest that women take some simple steps to lower the amount of light they come in contact with during the evenings and to take proper care of their circadian clocks:
• Keep your lights low
Make sure your lights are as dim as you can bear, Stevens suggests, so your internal clock is not interrupted.
• Stick with incandescents
Despite conflicting reports of the contrary, incandescent bulbs have not been banned. In fact, they’re very widely available for purchase, but are now required to meet specific energy efficiency protocols. This is good, as compact fluorescent bulbs give off tons of blue light, Stevens says—even the ones known to put out a “warm white” light. Incandescent bulbs give off more yellow and red light, but it’s that blue light shining from your televisions, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices that raises your awareness, suppresses melatonin, and wrecks your natural sleep cycle.
• Use red nightlights
Definitely do this if you’re more likely to get up for late-night bathroom breaks. “Dim red light will not shock your system into daylight activity,” Stevens says. Flipping on bright overhead lights will decrease melatonin instantly and make it more difficult for you to fall back asleep.
• Avoid sleeping meds
Contrary to what pharmaceutical companies will tell you, waking up in the middle of the night is normal, Stevens says. “Stay in the dark and appreciate the calmness. Do not get up, do not read a book. Do not watch TV.” If you do, your sleep cycle will be disrupted even more and could be harmful.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
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