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August 01, 2012

Study: Too Much Light & Too Much Internet At Night Can Lead To Depression, Obesity, Other Adverse Health Effects

I know studies are all kind of bullshit but I kind of already believe this so, as people do with studies, I believe it just because it reinforces preexisting nonscientific biases.

This was part of the reason I was specifically recommending ereaders (not tablets, which are just compact computer screens; the difference is that an ereader is just a high-tech version of a printed page, with a high-tech sort of "ink" on neutral-colored unlighted slate). I think there's a health benefit to shutting off the TV and the computer. I just feel better when I turn off all the electronic stuff before it gets too late, and then read for a half hour or hour before sleeping.

And I say this as someone whose business actually relies on computer.

Too much strong night at light just screws up a lot of things, especially sleep.

One partial solution, recommended to me by a commenter or coblogger (forget who), is a free program called F.lux, which dims your computer screen as the sun sets in your time zone, and also skews the colors to rose (like dawn's fading light; and red light is less powerful and less stimulating than white or blue light). In the morning and day the computer's brightness is left at its normal power.

Seems to me this helps. But I still think the actual full shut-off is important.

The subjects of the study were actually hamsters, but eff you, I believe it anyway. I feel like crap when I revert to my typical ways of computer use deep into the night, and then start feeling better when I force myself into a more natural pre-computer rhythm. Which reminds me that I have been using the computer deep into night for weeks, and need to stop that habit again.

I just remembered this: I was obsessed as a kid with the movie LOOKER. I still think it's awesome and in dire need of a remake. That movie was all about the effect on light on the brain. So maybe I have had this idea in my head for 30 years, thanks to LOOKER.

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posted by Ace at 06:28 PM

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