The Negative Health Effects of Too Much Light
Image via Flickr by Dave Stokes
Too much of a good thing isn’t always as good as it seems and this especially is true with light. Although the concerns with UV rays and other forms of direct sunlight are obvious, there are some surprising ways in which too much light of both the natural and artificial kind can negatively affect the human body.
Sunlight’s Skin-Damaging Rays
Ultra Violet (UV) light exposure has devastating effects on the human body in the form of cancer. And, although cancer comes in all shapes and sizes, skin cancer directly related to sun exposure is one of the leading types of cancers in the world.
By paying close attention to UV Indexes, applying SPF 30 sunscreen or above when outdoors, and simply staying out of direct sunlight during certain times of the day will drastically lessen the chance of skin cancer.
The Sun’s Aging Effects
Premature aging is another form of UV damage that has irreversible side effects. For example, people who tan regularly, either by direct sunlight or tanning booths, are actually staining the pigment of their skin.
Another side effect of the sun’s aging abilities is wrinkling. Wrinkles occur due to pores drying out over time from direct exposure to UV rays. Although the damage isn’t seen immediately, skin elasticity does have a lifespan that sunlight shortens.
Artificial light, although not as drastic as sunlight, does have a negative effect on the way people sleep. Light pollution from streetlights, neon signs, and headlights can illuminate the night sky so much so that it can actually fool nocturnal animals into thinking it’s daytime.
Light pollution, especially in larger cities, can wreak havoc on the human sleep cycle and cause insomnia. In order to keep excess light out of the bedroom, many people turn to blackout window treatments such as the Shade Store window blinds to help reduce light pollution.
If you’ve ever walked through a department store only to be blinded by the overhead fluorescent lights, then you’re a victim of over-illumination. Basically, over-illumination is an unnecessary amount of prolonged light.
The health effects of over-illumination are actually more damaging than you might think. For those exposed to long-term over-illumination, like factory and office workers, chronic migraine headaches, hypertension, and even erectile dysfunction are all common side effects.
The Circadian Clock
The human body’s 24-hour day and night cycle is also known as its circadian clock and too much light has an adverse effect on how the clock functions. By continuously exposing the body to light, especially when the clock assumes it’s night, physiological processes are thrown off.
These processes have to do with the proper functioning of brain wave patterns, cell regulation, and hormone patterns. One of the main side effects of the circadian clock being disrupted is a drop in the production of serotonin, which ultimately leads to depression.
Shedding a little light on the negative health effects of too much light will increase awareness and hopefully lead to a more light conscious and healthy society.