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Watch Late Night TV? Don’t Do It If You Want to Avoid Being Depressed

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Heartbreak or job issues can lead to depression, but your computer or TV screen? Turns out those can also lead to depression, especially if you sit in front of artificial light late into the night or leave it on while you fall asleep.

Neuroscientists at Ohio State University Medical Center conducted a study, which was partly funded by the Department of Defense, and learned that exposure to artificial light at night coincides with rising depression rates.

The researchers exposed hamsters to dim lights at night. They discovered changes in behavior and that the brain bore similarities to depressed people.

They also found that women are twice as prone to dim light-caused depression than men.

The symptoms, however, were reversible. When hamsters were returned to a normal light-dark cycle, all the physical symptoms of exhibited depression were gone and they returned to normal after two weeks.

Artificial night lighting has also been linked to breast cancer and obesity, yet the relationship to depression is not quite as clear.

“The good news is that people who stay up late in front of the television and computer may be able to undo some of the harmful effects just by going back to a regular light-dark cycle and minimizing their exposure to artificial light at night,” study leader Tracy Bedrosian said.


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