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The Importance of Darkness to Our Health

July 13, 2017

The Importance of Darkness to Our Health

If you were ever asked what you need to survive, would you ever list dark as one of those things? The truth is most of us never would, but some of the latest scientific research has shown us that darkness is as essential to life as light when it comes to both physical and mental well-being. The problem for many of us in this day and age however is that night has become day and time has become a limited resource that has forced us to work, travel, shop, exercise and of course socialise during the night hours. And even when we do rest our weary heads, it is often in a room filled with light emitting electronic devices and in abodes that are constantly being flooded with light from street lights, city lights, and passing headlights. The night has literally become occupied by illumination and this is having a negative effect on many of us.

Don’t Ever Underestimate the Need for Darkness

According to a new study published by The Royal Society about how light disrupts human circadian rhythm there are some major negative repercussions to our health that have started to occur since the introduction of electric light to our homes. The report even went as far as to say that:

“Since the introduction of electric lighting, there has been inadequate light during the day inside buildings for a robust resetting of the human endogenous circadian rhythmicity, and too much light at night for a true dark to be detected; this results in circadian disruption and alters sleep/wake cycle, core body temperature, hormone regulation and release, and patterns of gene expression throughout the body.”

This “endogenous circadian rhythmicity,” which most of us know simply as “circadian rhythm,” is humanities natural body clock that regulates our body's sleep/wake cycles, our body temperature, our regular hunger cycles, and even our energy levels. Darkness is crucial for our circadian rhythm, because when it is dark our body increases the production of melatonin, and this hormone signals the body that it is time to sleep. The opposite occurs when the sun comes up, melatonin levels decrease and this signals the body that it is time to wake up.

However, artificial lighting and sleeping during the day due to an active night schedule has compromised this natural dark to light rhythm, and this has been further exasperated by living in homes that eschew natural light and darkness contrasts. It is theorised that this may lead to some potentially serious health issues, especially over time. These health risks include everything from facial wrinkles, decreased sex drive, obesity, and diabetes, to heart disease, fibromyalgia, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.

How Do We Fight This?

Changing a few bad habits and prepping for bed before it is time to sleep can change things for the better in a matter of days. Simply watch this short video below and you’ll soon be enjoying a more restful night every night:

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