Study: More Daylight Creates Less Risk for Mental Health Disorders

Study: More Daylight Creates Less Risk for Mental Health Disorders

As we move through this dark season of winter, there’s been a lot of talk about seasonal affective disorder and tackling the feelings of depression that come with reduced daylight hours. However, sun exposure can have even more serious effects when it comes to mental health.

A new analysis of more than 85,000 people using data from UK Biobank shows that those who spend more time in the sun are more likely to suffer from major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychosis. , the risk of self-harm was found to be low.

of study,It was published in the magazine natural mental healthThey also independently found that increased nighttime light exposure was associated with increased risk of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, psychosis, bipolar disorder, and self-harm.

Effects of circadian rhythm disruption on mental health

The authors are focusing on the impact. circadian rhythm — or the brain’s 24-hour internal clock, which regulates alertness and sleepiness in response to changes in ambient light — which is implicated in many mental illnesses, disruptions of this natural cycle. “Habitual light exposure may therefore be an environmental risk factor for susceptibility to psychiatric disorders,” the researchers said.

Researchers sought to investigate whether exposure to natural light during the day and artificial light at night had any relationship with psychiatric disorders, including circadian rhythm disturbances. They found that higher daytime light exposure was associated with a lower risk of mental illness and better mood, and higher nighttime light exposure was associated with a lower risk of mental illness. We tested two main hypotheses: getting high and feeling sick.

“These hypotheses were motivated by the known effects of daytime and nighttime light exposure on the human circadian system and the established link between circadian disturbances and psychiatric disorders.” the researchers wrote.

Researchers used light exposure data collected in 2013 when more than 100,000 UK Biobank participants took part in a 7-day physical activity and light exposure study to Data from 86,631 people were examined. Participants wore an accelerometer with a light sensor on their dominant wrist for one week, recording movement and light level data. Psychiatric data was then collected in 2016 when participants completed an online mental health questionnaire.

More light at night and less light during the day increases mental health risks

Ultimately, the analysis proved that both researchers’ hypotheses were correct.

As a result, higher exposure to light at night is associated with a number of major depressive disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, and psychosis, and higher exposure to daytime light is associated with major depression. They were shown to be less likely to develop medical disorders, self-harm, and psychosis.

“Our findings demonstrate a consistent association between light exposure patterns that are healthy for circadian rhythms and better psychiatric outcomes,” the authors concluded.

They also note that in today’s modern world, humans tend to spend about 90% of their days indoors, and their light exposure patterns are lower during the day compared to earlier points in evolutionary history. He pointed out that the brightness at night is increasing.

“Addressing deviations from the natural light-dark cycle may improve the overall mental health of people in developed societies,” the researchers said.

Potential mental health interventions and invitation for further research

As the largest investigation to date of objectively measured light exposure and mental health, this study provides new insights on the subject. Still, it is not without its limitations.

While there are “well-documented causal mechanisms” linking bright light at night and dim light during the day to circadian rhythm disruption, and circadian rhythm disruption and mental health, the authors found that reverse causation was not possible. He recognized the potential and emphasized the need for future longitudinal research. “However, the robustness of our findings to adjustment for confounders such as physical activity and sleep supports our interpretation,” they said.

The authors also note that light monitoring was done using a wrist-worn device, which was not redesigned to measure light at eye level. Additionally, light monitoring and outcome variables were measured approximately 2 years apart, so light exposure patterns may have changed during that time.

Still, as we continue to broaden our horizons and seek new and innovative solutions to mental health, the findings may prove useful in future approaches.

“These results suggest that light exposure interventions may act beyond diagnosis and improve mental health by strengthening circadian rhythms,” the researchers wrote. ing. “Brightening the Days and Darkening the Nights is a simple, freely available, non-pharmacological intervention to strengthen mental health that could be easily implemented in the community.”

David B.
author
David B. stands out as an exceptional cannabis writer, skillfully navigating the intricate world of cannabis culture and industry. His insightful and well-researched articles provide a nuanced perspective on various aspects, from the therapeutic benefits to the evolving legal landscape. David's writing reflects a deep understanding of the plant's history, its diverse strains, and the ever-changing dynamics within the cannabis community. What sets him apart is his ability to break down complex topics into digestible pieces, making the information accessible to both seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers alike. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for the subject, David B. emerges as a reliable and engaging voice in the realm of cannabis literature.

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