Exposure To Light At Night May Cause Depression

Exposure To Light At Night May Cause Depression

A new study reveals the possible negative effects of artificial light.

Don Michael Acelar De Leon
  • 22 november 2010

PSFK recently took note of the negative effects of nightly exposure to light as it pertains to gaining weight. Ohio State neuroscientist Tracy Bedrosian adds to this by arguing that prolonged exposure to light at night may cause depression.

In a controlled experiment, Bedrosian placed hamsters in one of two different environments. In the first environment, the hamsters spent 16 hours in daylight and then 8 hours in absolute darkness. The second group of hamsters still got 16 hours of daylight, but a dim light was placed in the 8-hour sleeping time.

Bedrosian then tested the hamsters for signs of depression and found that the hamsters that spent 8 hours in total darkness showed a clear preference for sugar water (hamsters typically prefer sweet treats) over regular water, while the hamsters that slept with a dim light showed no preference at all. The results imply that the latter group of hamsters are suffering from an inability to feel pleasure known as anhedonia, which is a key indicator of depression.

io9 further reports:

There were key differences in the brains of the two hamster groups. The hamsters that slept with the light had fewer dendritic spines, structures found near the hippocampus that are crucial for communication between brain cells. This ties in with human studies of depression that show the disease correlates with a shrinking of the hippocampus region.

Bedrosian suggests that these brain changes could be caused by a deficiency in the hormone melatonin. The hormone is essential in letting the body know that it’s nighttime, but nearby light sources can reduce its production. Other studies have revealed melatonin’s antidepressant qualities, which suggests a lack of it could spur on depression. This also fits neatly with studies demonstrating an increased risk of mood disorders for people who work at night.

Marie Claire: Sleeping with a Light on Can cause depression

[via io9]


Dubai And The Future Of Humanitarian Design

Design & Architecture
Technology october 21, 2016

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

Design & Architecture october 21, 2016

Fragrance Will Release The Smell Of Data If Your Private Information Is Being Leaked

The device is designed to create a physical cue for the potential dangers lurking online


Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Retail october 21, 2016

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry

Related Expert

Jason Kilar

Digital Media, Distribution, Data

Travel october 21, 2016

Become A Citizen Of The First Nation In Space

Asgardia is a new concept for a floating society above Earth

Entertainment october 21, 2016

Speaker Displays Song Lyrics As Music Is Played

The device is able to generate the graphics on a translucent screen and retrieve the words from a connected database

AI october 21, 2016

Travel Assistant Scans Your Emails To Make Planning Easier

This AI add-on will sync with your inbox and sends reminders to make sure you don't miss anything important


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 21, 2016

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Millennials october 21, 2016

FOMO Survival Kit Helps Millennials Cope With Social Anxieties

The satirical product is meant to be a playful diversion for people who feel like they are missing out

Food october 21, 2016

New York Restaurant Uses Tomato Sushi As Its Newest Meat Alternative

fresh&co is using sous vide Roma tomatoes to create a vegan option that has the texture and taste of tuna

Advertising october 21, 2016

Red Bull Converts Sao Paulo Payphones Into Data-Driven Bus Schedules

The booths allow city residents to check local transit times through a simple toll-free phone call

Retail october 21, 2016

Why Experiential Events Could Replace Trade Shows

Marketers are seeking creative and impactful new ways to connect with influencers

Children october 21, 2016

Modular Kit Teaches Kids How To Make Their Own Robots

MODI features magnetic modules and a platform for programming to encourage experimentation

Infants october 21, 2016

Work Table Doubles As A Baby Seat

Designer Kunsik Choi created the furniture to facilitate emotional communication between between parents and their children

Technology october 21, 2016

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

Technology october 21, 2016

Wearable Device And Lamp Recreate Beautiful Sunsets In Your Home

Sun Memories can record up to six hours of natural light and reproduce it via a connected light at a later date

No search results found.