We've been reading many articles on the negative effects of light in your bedroom.  There has been some interesting data linking night lighting to inconsistent sleep patterns and increased cancer rates.  The article appeared in Bottom Line Secrets and was written by Keith I. Block, MD, medical director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie, IL.

Fascinating research is now being conducted on possible cancer risks associated with a phenomenon known as “light at night” (LAN) — that is, any type of light exposure at night…even from a bedside alarm clock.

Research on the health effects of light exposure began more than two decades ago when scientists first identified an increased risk for breast, prostate, colorectal and other cancers in night-shift workers. Researchers theorize that night-shift work disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythm of daytime activity and nighttime rest, leading to imbalances in the hormones melatonin, estrogen and cortisol, which may play a role in triggering cancer. Now the research extends far beyond night-shift work.

Scientific evidence: Researchers at the University of Haifa in Israel measured light levels in the “sleeping habitats” of 1,679 women. They found that those with the highest “bedroom-light intensity” had a 22% higher risk for breast cancer. A 2009 study discovered that risk for prostate cancer increased as the exposure to LAN increased.

To help protect yourself…

Use an alarm clock with a red light. An alarm clock that’s too close to your head and illuminated with any color other than red generates light in the blue spectrum, which may be associated with disruption in sleep and cut the production of melatonin, the circadian-regulating hormone.

In addition, if you need a light to help you find your way to the bathroom, use a dim nightlight. Avoid direct exposure to light.

We designed the Mr. Beams Stick Anywhere Night Lights to be off while you sleep and to light up only when you get up.  We have conducted studies on the impact of light on the sleep patterns of the elderly, and it is clear that a bright night light can be disruptive to falling back to sleep.  Our Mr. Beams Stick Anywhere Night Light will remain off all night, but its sensitive motion sensor will pick up motion and turn the light on as soon as you get up to go to the bathroom or get a snack.  The light is aimed at the ground, so it is less disruptive to your sleep patterns than a night light that shines in all directions.

Our motion sensing LED lights are popular in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospital rooms to help visitors find their way to the bathroom, especially when they are not familiar with the layout of their new room.  We've heard that nurses and assistants love them when they need to enter the rooms at night while allowing patients to get a full night of rest.  

If you want to protect yourself and sleep better, try implementing the suggestions above and pick up a few motion-sensing night lights to install in your bathroom, bedroom and hallway so you can fall back asleep more easily.