Night owls might have to rethink their sleeping schedules due to results from a new depression study. According to ScienceDaily, “too much light at night can lead to symptoms of depression.”
Though the study was done on mice, the results can apply to humans. Mice that were exposed to light for 24 hours appeared to be more depressed than those who had normal lighting throughout the day and night. The depressive symptoms were decreased when the mice had a dark tube to hide in, but those that only had a clear tube to hide in were worse off.
The researchers think the results point to problems of depressive symptoms in humans due to unnatural lighting in nighttime settings, like the workplace and at home.
For those who stay up late in the night and keep the lights on, this may mean an increase in feelings of depression. College students could be a target, since they’re known for all-nighters, as well as those who work the night shift and just night owls in general.
Perhaps those who know they will be keeping the lights on late into the night should try to use more natural lighting during the day instead of light bulbs and limit the amount of light used at night overall — don’t turn on more lights than are needed. Or just try to get more work done during the day.
Personally, as a college student, I tend to stay up a lot during the night to complete homework and also just because I enjoy the night. However, I also have depression. I’ve been told that lack of sleep and late hours may increase depression, but I had never thought about unnatural lighting affecting my mood. Maybe it’s time to turn off the lights.
Other unknown factors, like room design, are suggested to also affect the mood, according to Scientific American. It appears the mind and mood are more sensitive than thought before.
Basically, experiment with different living conditions and see which ones you feel best in. Be aware of your surroundings and how they’re affecting you physically and mentally.