Let the Night Creep Back In

Once upon a time, people woke with the sun. They got up, did their work (outdoors) all day, then came in before the sunset, hung out with the family, and went to bed when it got dark (or lit a candle if they needed to see at night).

Then one day, artificial light appeared. How exciting! Technology wins again! Except…for one small issue. It may be causing a number of health problems. According to this article, our circadian rhythms are being majorly disrupted by all of this technology. And not just the light bulb kind, although that’s certainly contributing. In particular, our light bulbs have now changed from primarily incandescent to the LED and compact fluorescent kind. This change in light is causing a change in the wavelengths being emitted. In addition to this complication is the existence of our multiple screens. If we could all just turn the lights out when the sun goes down, research like the kind cited in the article might not even exist. However, as our society has gotten accustomed to using these lights and various screens, we have a tendency to keep using them and using them and using them….long after we’ve said goodbye to the sun.

While the researchers continue to ask questions about specific connections, what would happen if we all did little experiments of our own? How crazy would it be for us to actually turn out the lights when it gets dark? How about going to bed at night, instead of staying up just because we think we need to be rushing around after work, running errands, doing chores, making phone calls, or watching TV? What if we turned off our computers, phones, tablets, and other screens and reserved them for the daytime? This actually does not sound all that crazy to me. Yet I can practically hear some of you screaming, “WHAT? ARE YOU INSANE? I can’t possible live without my <fill in the blank> 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!!!”

Well, okay. But for those of you still with me, thinking, “Hmmm….I wonder….”, humor me and try it out. Try it just for a week. Or for 48 hours. See how you feel. See if your sleep patterns change. Of course, the longer you can try the experiment, the more change you may notice. It’s likely that a short experiment might not give you the opportunity to really notice a difference, especially one related to your health. But if you’re one who likes to play around and try things “just because”, let me know how long you try it and what happens. I’m interested to know. And for those of you who have followed me for a while, you know me…I just might try it myself.

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