Health & Fitness

Light and Health from The Economist

Kristen Sparrow • June 15, 2014


Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Between Heaven and Earth
Get Some Sunlight!

Nice article some of the issues we’ve talked about re:sleeping and health. This article covers the issue of light and health.
We have been slow to recognise the positive link between light and health. Over the past 40 years the sun has been the enemy: the medical establishment has warned us off the ultraviolet rays that contribute to skin cancer. But now scientists have a new worry—that getting too little daylight may also do long-term damage to our health…
This matters. If we don’t sleep, we die. Literally. Rats kept from sleeping drop dead within weeks. Being tired makes us less productive, more forgetful and apt to make mistakes—human error in the wee small hours contributed to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island nuclear accidents. Sleep affects the body’s internal workings too. It enhances our immune system, so that, when deprived of it, we are not only liable to catch a cold, but also more susceptible to some types of cancer—and if we already have cancer it will probably grow faster. We are more likely to have heart attacks or become depressed. We over-eat when tired, and because our metabolism alters too, we are far more prone to obesity and diabetes…
But whereas tired adults are sluggish and lethargic, kids become hyperactive and distractible—which may be one reason that more than one in ten children in America are now diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the symptoms of which are remarkably similar to sleep deprivation. What would be the effect if, rather than popping pills, we sent them outside to play each morning and put them to bed earlier?…
LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE 12 tips for a better day’s light and a better night’s sleep
– Get up and go to bed at the same time every day, even at weekends – Open your curtains each morning and embrace the day, not your privacy – Spend time outside by day and take the whole family with you, young and old – Don’t draw the blind – Try to work by a window—a room with a view isn’t just a good novel – Play video games by day, not at night – Buy an extra desk lamp – Have a romantic dinner with the lights dimmed – Don’t use your computer or tablet for two hours before bedtime – Install f.lux software on your computer. It’s a free program that cuts blue glare later in the day – Make your bedroom dark or sleep in a face mask – Turn off the light half an hour earlier. It could save your life