People are constantly under the glare of artificial light these days, with lighting systems brightening the night and their eyes constantly on a screen. It’s impossible to avoid artificial light exposure, and unfortunately, sometimes it can be risky. Studies show that artificial light can have a negative effect on mental and physical health.
The primary issue with artificial lighting is the color spectrum it uses because it includes a blue spectrum, brighter than natural light. Research suggests that the artificial light in digital devices’ screens emits blue light at peak emissions and can influence people’s natural sleeping and waking patterns.
The dangers of artificial light: Artificial light impacts the circadian rhythm
The circadian rhythm works like an internal clock that regulates the body’s feelings of wakefulness and tiredness. Some outside factors like light can influence its functioning because the human body relies on light to regulate its metabolisms. The hypothalamus controls the circadian rhythm. When the night comes and the lights dim, the eyes signal to the hypothalamus to release melatonin and get the body ready for sleep.
But if you’re exposed to too much light (you use digital devices at night or don’t switch off the lights in the bedroom), your sleeping patterns can get disturbed. Artificial light can cause several mental and physical issues like a negative effect on your memory and disruption to the melatonin cycles.
Artificial light can increase the risk of cancer
Specialists connected overexposure to artificial light to the diagnosis of breast and prostate cancer. As stated before, light interferes with melatonin production, which should be at peak during the night and lower during the day. The Barcelona Institute for Global Health studied how heavy artificial light exposure affects residents of large cities. It concluded that the residents in these areas have a doubled risk of suffering from prostate cancer and 1.5 times higher risk of having breast cancer. Studies also suggest that people who work night shifts are more likely to develop these types of cancer because their bodies are exposed to both natural and artificial light 24 hours a day.
Artificial light can cause macular degeneration
Blue light can damage the eye’s retina. When blue light penetrates the macular pigment in the eye, it can lead to a breakdown in the retina. It makes the eyes more likely to develop cell degeneration that can cause issues like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Even if blue light can trigger macular degeneration in various ways, the most common one is retinal damage through a photochemical mechanism.