New research shows limiting electric light exposure —especially at night—can have a positive effect on biological rhythms and metabolic health.
The amount of electric light exposure at night—and the lack of natural light during the day—can disrupt sleep enough to impact health, wellness, and productivity. But new recommendations aim to correct those patterns.
The recommendations, recently published in PLoS Biology, use a newly developed light-measuring standard that researchers hope will provide guidance to the lighting and electronics industries to promote healthier workplaces, public buildings, and homes through electric light exposure.
“These recommendations provide the first scientific consensus, quantitative, guidance for appropriate daily patterns of light exposure to support healthy body rhythms, nighttime sleep and daytime alertness,” study co-author Timothy Brown, PhD, professor and researcher at the Environmental Research Institute at the University of Manchester, said in a press release. “This now provides a clear framework to inform how we light any interior space ranging from workplaces, educational establishments, and healthcare facilities to our own homes.”
The new report cites industrialization and urbanization as key factors that impact people’s exposure to light—specifically less natural light during the day, more (unnatural) light at night, and an overall increase in electric light. According to researchers, this changing exposure has negative impacts on health, sleep, and productivity.