[Source: Science Daily]
Exposing preschoolers to an hour of bright light before bedtime almost completely shuts down their production of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and keeps it suppressed for at least 50 minutes after lights out, according to new University of Colorado Boulder research.
The study, published today in the journal Physiological Reports, is the first to assess the hormonal impact nighttime light exposure can have on young children.
The study comes at a time when the use of electronics is rapidly expanding among this age group and adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that-because of structural differences in their eyes-children may be more vulnerable to the impact light has on sleep and the body clock.
“Although the effects of light are well studied in adults, virtually nothing is known about how evening light exposure affects the physiology, health, and development of preschool-aged children,” said lead author Lameese Akacem, a CU Boulder instructor and researcher in the Sleep and Development Lab. “In this study we found that these kids were extremely sensitive to light.”
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