I am the epitomy of a night owl. I do all my cleaning, writing, reading, best work and thinking at night. I have tried to get up early to accomplish these things, but all I want to do is sleep. My brain doesn’t turn on early in the morning and trying to go to sleep before midnight, for me, is impossible. My brain just won’t shut off.

I am also guilty of falling asleep with the TV on. Complete silence is like nails on a chalkboard. I have to have some white noise to help me fall asleep. But, how bad is this for me? What are some of the side effects of this type of sleeping pattern?

According to a study conducted by neuroscientists at Ohio State University Medical Center (partly funded by the Department of Defense) exposure to artificial light at night coincides with rising depression rates. Yikes, this is bad for me and I’m guessing a few million other people out there. They also found that women are twice as prone to depression than are men, caused by this dim lighting.

The good news is that the symptoms are reversible. All it takes is a return to a normal light-dark cycle, and all the physical symptoms of exhibited depression should go away after two weeks.

On a much scarier note, artificial night lighting has also been linked to breast cancer and obesity, yet the relationship to depression is not quite as clear.

So, if you’re like me, it may be time for us to turn off our computers at night and find a different white noise to help us fall asleep.


Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.

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