In a Nutshell

Night Light Influences a Human Hormone

by on Jan.19, 2011, under Environment

Keeping the lights on at night may actually be bad for your health, according to recent research and the Science News article “Night Owls May Want to Dim Their Lights.”

More than 100 young adults volunteered for a roughly 10-day research trial during which each took turns living in a light-controlled room at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. From midnight until 8 a.m. the room was totally dark. At other times, researchers from Harvard Medical School tinkered with the room’s lighting. . . .

When their room’s lighting had been bright, the participants made, on average, 71 percent less melatonin in the hours before sleep.

An interesting irrelevancy to human sleep and hormone production is the name of the article, “Night Owls May Want to Dim Their Lights,” for research by the Australian bird expert Fred Silcock relates to barn owls that have bioluminescence.

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