Experts Finally Recognize the Link Between Night Light Exposure and Cancer

Exposure to electric lights at night could be a cancer risk. Turning on the lights after dark may affect "clock genes" that control how your cells live, die and function, these researchers suggest.

Specifically, there is evidence that night lighting can cause cancer by interfering with the molecular mechanisms that control cell death and multiplication.

Clock genes were only identified about five years ago. Malfunctions of clock genes can lead to cells no longer responding to signals telling them not to divide, or telling abnormal cells not to self-destruct.

A possible link between light and cancer could be the hormone melatonin, which protects genetic material from mutation. Night light suppresses your body's production of melatonin, and can therefore increase your risk of cancer-related mutations.

MyHealthInsight.com March 12, 2007


Dr. Mercola's Comment:

This is a subject that most people never think about and are absolutely "in the dark" (pun intended) regarding how their ignorance on this subject is unnecessarily increasing their risk of cancer.

If you are one of the clueless it is time to wake up!

You simply CANNOT have night lights on while you or your kids are sleeping. Additionally, and in many cases more importantly, it is crucial to block outside light from coming into the bedroom. It is vital that you sleep in absolute darkness or you are just asking for long-term trouble.

If you're still skeptical about the damage incandescent night light can do to your body in terms of increasing your risk of various forms of cancer, then you should know a growing number of mainstream scientists have become "enlightened" about these very same risks. Any disruptions to your natural body clock, such as being exposed to artificial light or staying up for long periods at night, increase your risk of cancer.

In fact, British scientists have suggested a steady increase in childhood leukemia in the UK, Europe, and the United States may be connected to exposure to light at night.

If you're worried about your melatonin levels, you're best off boosting them simply by sleeping in complete darkness, rather than by taking a supplement that won't provide those very same natural benefits. The other way to maximize your melatonin production is to have regular exposure to bright light during the daytime, ideally outdoors. 

It is the actual tug and pull of bright sunshine exposure in the day and complete darkness at night that causes your body to produce high levels of cancer-protecting melatonin.

It is indeed possible to buy full-spectrum light bulbs, and doing so can be of great benefit to your health; the more closely indoor light mimics natural sunlight, the better your body and brain will respond to it, including your sensitive and cancer-fighting melatonin hormonal balance.

In addition to full darkness at night, seek to use full-spectrum light during the day for maximum health and cancer prevention if your climate does not have regular sunny days.

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