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Effects of Late Night Artificial Light

New research suggests that late night exposure to artificial light, often created by a TV or computer screen may lead to symptoms of depression.  This study was conducted at the Ohio State University Medical Center in which hamsters were exposed to chronic amounts of artificial light.  The hamsters showed signs of reduced physical activitiy, less interest in sugar water, greater signs of distress when placed in water, and changes in the brain’s hippocampus that are similar to brain changes seen in depressed people.

Earlier this year, The American Medical Association (AMA) released a summary of the effects of late night artificial light exposure,

“noting that artificial lights disrupt circadian rhythms and alter the body’s normal hormonal responses. In particular, when people spend too little time in darkness, it seems that the body suppresses release of the hormone melatonin, which — among other things — is thought to fight tumor growth and cancers. Other health conditions affected by changes in circadian rhythms, according to the AMA report, may include obesitydiabetes and reproductive problems.”

Over the last 50 years the reported numbers of depression have grown tremendously, matching up with the surge in people staying up late to watch television or stay on their computers.  This study suggests that the two may have a great deal in common.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/24/unplug-too-much-light-at-night-may-lead-to-depression/?iid=hl-main-lede#ixzz21drS8r1L


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What Not To Do Before Bedtime

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to living a healthy lifestyle.  It can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and quality of life.

Here are a few tips on what not to do before bedtime to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.
1) Do not work out before you go to sleep.  Going to the gym or working out raises your body temperature and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
2) Do not watch Television or go on your computer as the light from the screens stops the production of melatonin.
3) Do not take a hot shower.  This also raises your body temperature and makes it take longer for you to fall asleep.
4) Do not drink fluids before climbing into bed because they will cause you to wake up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break.
5) Do not do work or study because it stimulates your brain and will make falling asleep take longer.
6) Do not fall asleep with a pet on your bed because you will be worried about it throughout the entire night.  The same goes for falling asleep with a laptop in your bed.

The benefits of being well-rested include:
– Improved memory
– Longer lifespan
– Decreases inflammation (lowers blood pressure, chance of heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes and premature aging)
– Improves creativity
– Improves focus and attention span
– Decreases cravings for food and increases metabolism
– Relieves stress
– Decreases chance of depression