Home » Blog » Digital Health » Nobel Prize Winners' Research Proves Blue Light Affects Sleep
Congratulations to doctors Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael Young for winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine! These three American medical professionals studied fruit flies for decades in order to isolate one specific gene that dictates the body’s circadian rhythm. Their groundbreaking research leads the way to a more robust understanding of artificial light’s effect on our sleep and overall health.
Another detail about this victory worth noting: they won the Nobel Prize in competition with ground-breaking discoveries in gene-editing and immuno-oncology. These incredibly important fields of study are not diminished by Hall, Rosbash and Young’s accomplishment. However, the victory strongly emphasizes the importance of research on circadian rhythm. As you probably already know, this research holds central importance for our mission. The international scientific community’s recent acknowledgment lends support what we have been saying all along.
A TL;DR Breakdown of Their Research
Here is a bullet point version of their research:
- Just like the visible formations of stars, we all have constellations of proteins in our DNA. These various constellations work together to keep our bodies and minds functioning on a 24-hour cycle. Part of this 24-hour cycle, naturally, includes when and how well we sleep.
- One protein included in the cluster related to the sleep cycle deals with light. When the sun rises our bodies naturally know to wake up, and this protein gets the credit. When natural sunlight brightens the world throughout the day, our bodies won’t let us down and tell us to go to sleep. So long as the protein that controls the effect of light on our sleep cycle remains in correct working condition, our body will know when to sleep and when to wake up based on natural light exposure.
- Letting in more artificial light disrupts the cycle. This causes our brains to not want to sleep due to a process called melatonin disruption. The chemical that signals the brain to go to sleep, melatonin, becomes impaired by overexposure to artificial light. Sleep loss logically follows.
- What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? As we previously posted, you risk impairing your memory, increasing your chances for injury and disease, perpetuating the issue through neurotoxin buildup which further disrupts sleep, and becoming more prone to depression.
The process of learning exactly how artificial light harms the body remains ongoing. Yet, with this newly honored research, we already find that what we know has not led us wrong. We know enough to state that the amount of artificial light to which you expose yourself on a daily basis is too much.
The best solution is to cut down on your exposure. We know, however, that for most that’s simply not an option. Don’t wait, protect your eyes today. With GUNNAR’s patented lens technology, you can help preserve your body clock and get the proper sleep you deserve.
“The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017“. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 3 Oct 2017.