The presence of light has an effect on our circadian rhythms, commonly known as our “biological clocks.”
It is well known that artificial light at night makes the brain think that it is still daytime, preventing the release of melatonin, which is responsible for regulating our sleep. It is unclear how these effects come about, however. Researchers from the California Institute of Technology claim they have discovered a protein in the brain that responds to lightness and darkness, establishing an equilibrium between being asleep and awake.
Several studies have already determined that sleep quality diminishes when people spend too much time in front of a screen before going to bed.
Compared to previous centuries, sleep patterns have changed significantly; people used to get more than 9 hours of sleep a night or even had two sleep cycles during this period. Now, with electricity and advances in technology, periods of darkness are being filled with more light, depriving us of quality hours of sleep.
Getting poor sleep has negative consequences on people’s health including depression and a higher risk of heart disease. More specifically, according to publications from the American Medical Association (AMA), the use of artificial light at nighttime has been associated with obesity, diabetes and other conditions such as breast and prostate cancer as well as sexual reproduction problems.