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Casting Light on Sleep Deficiency

May 23, 2013

Dr. Charles Czeisler, chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine, is featured in this week's issue of  Nature discussing the health effects of sleep deprivation caused by the nighttime light exposure needed to maintain our 24/7 society.  In the article, Dr. Czeisler explains that electric light, especially from increasingly present energy efficient LED lights signal the brain that it is daytime, delaying the onset of melatonin and shifting the circadian clock to later. The results are less sleep and the adverse effects of chronic sleep deprivation, including increased risk of obesity, heart disease, depression, stroke, and cancer as well as increased risk of accidents at the workplace and on the road. Solid-state lighting with multi-color LEDs that change to accommodate the time of day may offer a solution to this problem. Dr. Czeisler recommends more investigation devoted to the impact of light consumption and the ways our 24/7 society affects sleep, circadian rhythms and health.

Related Links
Download Dr. Czeisler's article in Nature: "Casting Light on Sleep Deficiency" (pdf 235kb)
University of Washington School of Medicine lecture by Dr. Czeisler: "The Sleep Gap: Why is it Growing?" May 22, 2013 (pdf 484kb)
The Boston Globe: "Energy-Efficient Lighting May Worsen Sleep Deficiencies"
The Independent: "Outside it’s Midnight. Inside it’s Teatime. Is This What’s Wrong with Me?"
Medical Daily: "Turn Off The Light: Electric Light Disturbs Natural Sleep Patterns"
The Telgraph: "Electric Lighting 'Prevents Proper Night's Sleep'"

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