"Being out of phase with the natural day-night cycle can take a big toll, causing fatigue, mood disturbances and depression. But for millions of Americans, these symptoms become even worse in winter, blossoming into what is in effect a months-long case of jet lag."
thanks lisa, this is exactly my problem lately!!! I am glad you shined a light on the subject, and I am ready to be pro active and fight it this year!!!!!!
You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, 'I release the need for this in my life'. Wayne Dyer DECIDE IN DECEMBER SW-133 CW- 132.8lbs GW - 128 lbs
Oh Great Lisa...just wonderful...My full time night shift job is carsinogenic!! O.K. oh hormone balancing queen...what(besides quitting my job)can I do to alliviate the damage I'm doing to myself??? HELP!! It is always dark in my world...I fly into my cript between shifts and hang upside down till the next night comes...then I can sally forth and feed--er--care for the ill and dying.
WOW! Thought this was interesting. I try to keep on information like this. Pass this along when I'm teaching my hormone balancing classes! Make it a great day! Lisa
See the light of day Artificial illumination can affect more than your mental health
By RICK WEISS Washington Post
Oh, the light! The autumn light!
Is there anything more glorious than a November day, awash in the sun's low-slung amber rays?
And yet ... perhaps you feel the dread, too. The looming inkiness that, like the tide, crawls up your legs a little higher each day, turning that honeyed light to molasses and molasses to muck until you realize, too late, that the birds have left and the world has gone dark.
Dark when you wake up, dark when you go home.
Now science is finding that our manhandling of light and time is making us sick. Artificial illumination is fooling the body's biological clock into releasing key wakefulness hormones at the wrong times, contributing to seasonal fatigue and depression. And daylight saving time, extended by Congress this year for an extra four weeks, risks dragging even more Americans into a winter funk.
Much more than mental health is at stake.
Women who work at night, out of sync with the light, recently have been shown to have higher rates of breast cancer -- so much so that an arm of the World Health Organization will announce in December that it is classifying shift work as a "probable carcinogen."
That will put the night shift in the same health-risk category as exposure to such toxic chemicals as trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
"Electric lights are wonderful, but as with a lot of other things, we really mess things up," said David Avery, a psychiatrist at the University of Washington School of Medicine who studies light's impact on health. "Our ancestors evolved in a very regular light-dark cycle, and our bodies just work better that way. But more and more, we are creating very irregular, erratic lighting cues." The psychiatric perspective Researchers have long known that virtually all living organisms have biological rhythms that are linked to light. But the human health implications remained opaque until the 1970s, when scientists discovered the brain's internal clock: the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a tangle of neurons in the hypothalamus connected directly to the eyes.
The SCN controls the ebb and flow of hormones that influence sleepiness, alertness and hunger. Prime among them is melatonin, levels of which rise each evening, easing the onset of sleep, and then fall before dawn in advance of awakening. Because of genetic differences, many people's clocks are set differently from others'. In some, the evening melatonin spike is delayed and sleep comes late.
Others have the opposite problem: The clocks in these morning larks run fast compared with solar clock time, lulling them to sleep early and then awakening them well before dawn's early light.
Being out of phase with the natural day-night cycle can take a big toll, causing fatigue, mood disturbances and depression. But for millions of Americans, these symptoms become even worse in winter, blossoming into what is in effect a months-long case of jet lag.
Scientists disagree on the cause of seasonal affective disorder, or S.A.D., as it has come to be known. Some focus on winter's late sunrises, which appear to push various hormone cycles out of phase with the daily wake-sleep cycle. Others focus on the early sunsets, which may affect the timing of melatonin production in the brain.
Daylight saving time, which was stretched this year to Nov. 4 for a number of reasons, including an effort to save energy, exacerbates the problem by further delaying the time of sunrise, a key signal that resets the body's clock each day.
"From the psychiatric perspective, the extension of daylight saving time this year was a very bad decision," Terman said. "Our expectation is we will see increased depression and mood disorders." Possible solutions As though it were not bad enough that lighting is a 24-7 feature of modern life, Avery said, people spend evenings staring at their "Microsoft blue" computer monitors, then wonder why they can't fall asleep. "We've deseasonalized ourselves," said Thomas Wehr, a psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md. "We are living in an experiment that is finding out what happens if you expose humans to constant summer day lengths."
The perfect solution is to give up artificial light, an approach that quickly brings one into a cycle of long, restful nights and easy awakenings at dawn. More realistically, experts recommend avoiding bright lights after dusk and perhaps wearing yellow sunglasses at brightly lit evening events to filter out the blue light that might fool your ganglia into thinking it is morning.
For those working at night, "the idea might be to have a work environment where at the beginning of the shift the lighting is heavier in blues that suppress melatonin, then gradually it changes and becomes redder and redder," a hue that does not stimulate the eye's ganglion cells, said Richard Stevens, an epidemiologist at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington.
Stevens knows how important night-shift lighting can be. It was his focus on the issue that helped reveal that women who work night shifts for 20 to 30 years have breast cancer rates 30 percent to 80 percent higher than their day-shift counterparts. The mechanism is still not fully explained, but studies have since shown that melatonin -- whose secretion is suppressed by nighttime illumination -- is a potent anticancer hormone.
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