The American Medical Association (AMA) voted last week, during its annual meeting in Chicago, to adopt a policy recognizing that exposure to excessive light at night can disrupt sleep, exacerbate sleep disorders, and cause unsafe driving conditions. The policy also supports the need for developing lighting technologies that minimize circadian disruption and encourages further research on the risks and benefits of occupational and environmental exposure to light at night.

"The natural 24-hour cycle of light and dark helps maintain alignment of circadian biological rhythms along with basic processes that help our bodies to function normally," said AMA board member Alexander Ding, MD. "Excessive exposure to nighttime lighting disrupts these essential processes and can create potentially harmful health effects and hazardous situations.

"This type of disruption especially impacts those employed by industries requiring a 24-hour workforce as well as those faced with unsafe driving conditions caused by artificial lights on cars and roadway illumination. By supporting new technologies that will reduce glare and minimize circadian disruption, the AMA is taking steps to improve both public health and public safety."