Skip to comments.Perspective: Casting light on sleep deficiency
Posted on 05/24/2013 11:34:31 AM PDT by neverdem
There are many reasons why people get insufficient sleep in our 24/7 society, from early starts at work or school, or long commutes, to caffeine-rich food and drink. But the precipitating factor is an often unappreciated, technological breakthrough: the electric light. Without it, few people would use caffeine to stay awake at night. And light affects our circadian rhythms more powerfully than any drug.
Just as the ear has two functions (hearing and balance), so too does the eye. First, rods and cones enable sight; and second, intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) containing the photopigment...
The US Institute of Medicine estimates that between 50 million and 70 million people in the United States suffer adverse health and safety consequences from sleep disorders and sleep deficiency3, including greater risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and stroke. The obesity boom has triggered a parallel epidemic of obstructive sleep apnoea, which disrupts sleep (see 'Heavy sleepers', page S8). Children become hyperactive rather than sleepy when they don't get enough sleep, and have difficulty focusing attention, so sleep deficiency may be mistaken for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an increasingly common condition now diagnosed in 19% of US boys of high-school age. Some 40% of people in the United States report that their sleep is often insufficient, with 25% reporting difficulty concentrating owing to fatigue. The WHO has even added night-shift work to its list of known and probable carcinogens. And the death toll from driving while tired is second only to that caused by drink driving.
Solid-state white light is typically rich in blue light, and the colour composition matters. The ipRGCs are most sensitive to short-wavelength (blue and bluegreen) light, so night-time exposure to LEDs is typically more disruptive to circadian rhythms, melatonin secretion and sleep than incandescent lighting...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
I tend to turn out the lights when I go to sleep. I’ve found it to be a big help.
I’m sold on LED. They are tunable and low energy use, but I agree that incandescent shouldn’t be legislated away.
Thanks for the article!
The streetlights outside my bedroom got replaced with LEDs a few weeks ago. Couldn’t understand why I was so tired lately.
They are definitely brighter than the old streetlights. I’ll try closing the blinds to eliminate the blue spectrum light from entering the bedroom.
Got green ones on my radio/clock alarm. I just put a book over them.
What color is a Computer monitor’s light?
what color are CFLs?
this article is incomplete.
what about plasma TVs?
I wonder, what about fluorescent lights? I hate those things with a passion. Whenever one is turned on near me, I feel a sudden wave of depression that fades into a background steady-state--not pleasant, just tolerable. And fluorescent lights seem to be ubiquitous in commercial buildings.
I don't know. Wikipedia isn't a bad source for science and technical topics that are not yet politicized.
And fluorescent lights seem to be ubiquitous in commercial buildings.
Schools too. I wonder if an increase in the prevalence of ADHD, adults are getting diagnosed more frequently now, is really due to a sleep deficit.
Pardon the NY Times reference, but from time to time they have very good stories, IMHO.
I’m no expert...and although I travel for a living...I have never slept in a Holiday Inn Express...So take this for what it’s worth....
What they now call ADHD/ADD used to be called hyperactive. I’m 46..and I have a brain that normally goes 1,000 mph...been that way my whole life. Doing mundane tasks...I have to force myself to concentrate on the task...or my mind will wonder off for something more exciting or important. I have to make it shut up at night...usually with a double turkey....unless exhausted. The only time my mind will be quiet is when I am probing deep water structure with a bass lure.
I was born that way. Along with a geeked up mind...I am naturally on the hyper side physically. I thank God I was born before the medical community decided to treat kids like me with drugs...instead of the old school way.
It took me one time to look bored and fidgitty in front of my granny...after 3 hours of pruning, weeding, and other forms of love to the azaleas...I never let that happen again. I learned to be productive doing something I liked versus being made to be in something I didn’t. We kids learned quick to make ourselves scarce...laying around the house on a Saturday usually resulted in manual labor. We had woods..ponds..trails..the country store a mile plus away..the church field where we played ball. We found productive outlets for our energy.
Todays kids...for the most part...are surrounded by incentives to remain inside and inactive. Cell phones...Xboxes...internet..and parents that live in places where fear prevents them from encouraging kids to go outside and roam. Our parents feared for us...there were cottonmouths...yellow jacket nests..feral dogs..the rocky river...and our travels took us deep off roads where help would be an hour tops in coming. But they let us go out and see if we could deal with it. Some didn’t. But most did. Most of us having our own .22 rifles by age ten...our parents did not fear any humans harming us.
Todays kids do not have the outlets for their energy we did...nor are such outlets encouraged. As long as little Johnny is stoved up safe in the basement playing Xbox...mommy doesn’t have to worry about trouble with the law or the perv. Mommy doesn’t have to worry about the bully..or the gangstas. It’s just easier that way.
Many kids I grew up with lived on small farms..with pigs to slop...chickens to feed..eggs to gather...rows to hoe..and cows to milk...before school. Then there was calving...rat killings..plucking a dinner chicken...there wasn’t time or energy for ADHD.
Today...with most families being one where both parents work..or a single parent family...there isn’t time for parenting....there isn’t time to sit down with Johnny to figure out a productive way for him to expend energy. There ain’t no chores for him to do..nor is there a group of kids standing at his door ready to spend every possible minute outside.
Little Johnny sits in front of the flat screen playing Medal of Honor with his buds...with a headset and a mountain dew...and a bottle of pills he takes twice a day.
And we wonder why kids ain’t the same.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Pretty much the same. I have found the internet and technology over all has made it worse.
Not sure abut computer monitor light but it is pretty white or blue.
This little program actually worked for me. It changes the light color in tune with the natural light that would be present at the particular time of day.
I found I was having trouble going to sleep after working late in the evening. Could not wind down. Loaded this program and the problem eased up considerably. I quit, get ready for bed and go to sleep almost immediately.
Learned alot from your post, thank you!