SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Korea Bizwire) – Smartphones provide us with unparalleled convenience and endless possibilities, but they sometimes also pose threats.
In a recent study by a mental health science team from Korea University’s Anam Hospital, it was revealed that exposing oneself to bright artificial lights (i.e. from smartphones) can break one’s circadian rhythm, and lead to depression and bipolar disorder.
The team, led by doctors Lee Hun-jung and Cho Cheol-hyun, exposed 25 young, healthy male subjects to artificial lights at 1,000 lux for four hours before they went to sleep. They then carried out a similar experiment but with natural 150-lux lights, to determine the differing effects of light on subjects’ health.
When subjects were exposed to artificial light, their circadian rhythm and gene expression was delayed by approximately four hours.
“This indicates that our body’s circadian rhythm is delayed, resulting in a discord with our surrounding environment, like experiencing jet lag,” said Dr. Lee. “Exposing oneself to artificial lights can lead to lethargy, insomnia, and fatigue, which can decrease the overall quality of life, and bring about physical and mental complications.”
Furthermore, if artificial lights lead to physiological malfunctions, they can also increase the risk of depression and bipolar disorder, said the team.
“Billions of years of the Earth’s rotation has caused its living organisms to adapt to the changes between day and night, equipping each life form with its own circadian rhythm. The key point that controls this rhythm is the presence of light,” added Lee.
“Although it is difficult to avoid artificial lights altogether when surrounded by modern equipment and technology like smartphones, it is preferable that people reduce their use of light fixtures and smartphones before sleep in order to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)