FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Global Darkness Shortage

A byproduct of the modern world that we don't often think about is the shortage of darkness, or the presence of nighttime artificial light and our 24/7 society that's so constant that it disrupts the natural day-night cycle. Now, a growing number of scientists believe that depriving ourselves of darkness can actually make us sick.

Darkness advocates say that constant exposure to light sources -- whether they be from the inside or outside -- disrupts sleep cycles and causes physical stress. They even discourage the use of night lights, arguing that the human body evolved in environments where nighttime meant absolute darkness. Scientists are conducting studies to see whether exposure to nighttime light can suppress the body's production of melatonin, an enzyme believed to aid in fighting diseases such as cancer.

Sources: Taipei Times, Boing Boing