A recent study published by Ohio State University Medical Center showed that hamsters with chronic exposure to dim light at night showed signs of depression in a matter of weeks, which included decreased physical activity, disinterest in sugar water (a hamster luxury), and changes in the brain's hippocampus. The changes closely mimic what the brain of a depressed individual looks like. This isn’t the only study that showed negative effects of lighting before bedtime. The American Medical Association also recently published a study that showed that light at night can disrupt the natural rhythm of the body and change regular hormone responses in the body. Researchers say that these effects have been seen even more in the last 50 years, mainly because of more exposure to televisions, computers, cell phones, Kindles, iPads, and more.
It’s important to unplug at least an hour before bed. If you’re used to a routine of reading your Kindle in bed or catching up with the latest episode of your favorite sitcom as you lay in bed, it’s time to break the habit. Shut off the TV and close your laptop and instead, do some other relaxing activities, such as taking a bath, enjoying a glass of tea with the newspaper or book (not on your Kindle or iPad), or taking some time to talk with your spouse, children, or a friend. These activities are more important than staying connected to your mobile device and can truly prove beneficial to your overall health.
If you find yourself connected to your mobile device during the wee hours of the night, your physical, as well as mental health may be in danger. Technology, gaming, and Internet addiction is real. If you or someone you know is suffering from this addiction, visit www.hooked-on-games.com for more information on getting help.
1. Blue, Laura. “Unplug! Too much light at night may cause depression.” Time.com. July 25, 2012. http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/25/health/time-light-depression/index.html?hpt=he_c2 Accessed August 5, 2012.