Many leading health professionals are now suggesting that artificial light is contributing to the increased prevalence of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. These are all diseases that for decades we have all associated with poor diet, but it appears there is more to the story that diet.
A fantastic quote from Professor Steven Lockley from the University of Massachusetts sums it up beautifully “Electric light allows us to override the natural light dark cycle”. Artificial light allows us to function without the need to observe ancestral circadian rhythms but comes at a cost, our health.
The problem is more pronounced in big cities where phrases such as “The City that Never Sleeps” and the constant illumination of Las Vegas shine through. However the problem is not confined to large cities. The accessibility to digital devices, new high lux LED house lighting and Ultra High Definition TVs has extended the problem of artificial light out of the cities and into the homes of even the smallest villages. We have seen in the UK press recently that local councils have replaced street lights with higher lux white LEDs which has disrupted not just households on the streets but wildlife too.
83% of the world’s population and 99% of the population of Europe lives under light polluted skies. What this means is that other people’s light is influencing our circadian biology and leaving you at risk of horrendous diseases such as diabetes, cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease. This is why I believe artificial light is akin to passive smoking. Yes you can manage and improve your lighting involvement in your abode but when you leave the home you and subjected to a barrage of second hand artificial light. This is one of the reasons I created BLUblox, I wanted to create blue light glasses that were not only the most effective on the market but that were stylish enough to wear outside the home. Protection is a must when leaving the house, especially after dark but also during the day.
Driving at night has also become problematic in the UK since the introduction of the new Xenon headlamps. These high intensity discharge lights emit twice as much blue light as the old soft yellow halogen versions. And to think night truck drivers are already in a dire state health wise not even taking into account the new issues they will inevitable face when exposed to Xenon after dark.
All this light pollution is disrupting our circadian rhythms, messing up our sleep and wake cycles and causing irregular hormone production. All this leads to organ and hormonal issues such as diabetes, cancer, dementia, anxiety and depression. Our bedrooms are no longer completely dark, street lamps and car headlights all shine through our bedroom windows and even with closed eyes disrupt our sleep and health. We need to make sure our bedrooms have black out curtains or we wear a silk sleep mask to bed.
Managing our internal light environment in the home is only half the battle, passive artificial light is the real problem to us. When you leave the home you cannot control the light unless you use blue blockers, this is why BLUblox was founded, to help people manage passive artificial light in style and without looking socially unacceptable.