First of all, with regards to the following, darkness means total darkness. An alarm clock in an otherwise dark bedroom with an electronic LED emitting light is a violator. A cell phone charging at the bedroom wall outlet with its tiny light showing? A villain.
A nightlight in a child’s bedroom? Pure evil.
Keeping a small night light plugged into a wall outlet so you don’t trip, fall, and break your hip when you have to get up to urinate in the night? Heinous.
Read the findings below…
An Israeli study from the University of Haifa’s Biology Department which lasted ten years found an increased risk for breast cancer in women who slept with low light in their bedroom versus women who slept in darkness. If the subject was blind or nearly blind then the light did not pose an increased risk of breast cancer.
A parallel study for men was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on Advances in Prostate Cancer Research in San Diego on January 19, 2014. Men who had higher levels of melatonin had a 75% reduced risk of prostrate cancer. Despite receiving national coverage, these studies are said to be non-conclusive as more testing is needed. Research does show that when melatonin is suppressed, the probability of cancer rises. “Melatonin can prevent tumor cells from growing — it’s cancer-protective,” said Eva S. Schernhammer of Harvard Medical School.
Regarding depression and anxiety
A recent rodent study conducted at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center involved a group of mice provided with a completely dark sleeping environment and a group in a dimly lit one. The mice in dim light demonstrated higher anxiety and more depression than the mice kept in the dark environment. The darkness deprived mice also had lower test scores in learning and memory retention. Ohio State’s Dr. Randy Nelson noted that the dimness of the light used made the results all the more impressive.
Regarding efficient sleep
Melatonin, or the anti-aging drug, is activated by the pineal gland. Darkness stimulates the pineal gland. Certain lights impair the production of melatonin more than others according to the May 2012 Harvard Health Letter. Blue light seems to be the worst villain at inhibiting melatonin production. Regardless, however, of the light color, light suppresses melatonin production which is problematic prior to going to sleep as well as during sleep.
Achieving Delta brainwave stage faster means sleeping sounder and more efficiently. Allow your eyes and brain to naturally gear down to sleep by avoiding computer monitors, watching TV, and frankly, light. As your brain is likened to a computer which defragments as you go from alert Beta brainwave stage all the way down to deep Delta restorative sleep stage, it is easy to reason that “gearing down” prior to sleep is a smart preparation. Obviously, avoid work or conflict prior to sleeping as well to let the mind relax.
This article does not cover every suspected problem linked with melatonin deficiency such as nearsightedness (study done by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine) or a host of problems associated with depression such as obesity, sexual dysfunction, or diabetes. Somehow the list does look interconnected in spite of a sluggishness of “conclusive” testing.
Once you have made your sleeping area dark, the work is finished. It is easily maintained. Keep out the lightning bugs; reap your reward. For a prolonged nonstop dark room experience, check out the Tao Garden in Chiang Mai, Thailand which has the largest dark room retreat in the world. Retreats are offered for weeks. This article ends where the introduction for a prolonged dark room retreat would begin. The intro for the student ready to stay in total darkness for several days would include words such as pinoline, DMT…