Can Light Affect Your Health?

July 29, 2011
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With light, the body sets its internal clock to a 24-hour cycle regulating an estimated 10 percent of our genes. The workhouse of this system is the light-sensitive hormone melatonin, which is produced by the body every evening and during the night. Melatonin promotes sleep and alerts a variety of biological processes to the approximate hour of the day.

With light, the body sets its internal clock to a 24-hour cycle regulating an estimated 10 percent of our genes. The workhouse of this system is the light-sensitive hormone melatonin, which is produced by the body every evening and during the night. Melatonin promotes sleep and alerts a variety of biological processes to the approximate hour of the day. Any sort of light can suppress melatonin, but recent experiments have raised novel questions about one type in particular: the blue wavelengths produced by many kinds of energy-efficient light bulbs and electronic gadgets.

The benefits of blue light: better memory and cognitive ability. The downside: delays in sleeping, weight gains and maybe even cancer:

Body clock disruptions “can alter sleep-activity patterns, suppress melatonin production and disregulate genes involved in tumor development,” the WHO concluded.

See article on how light can affect your health.