We learned that while the invention of the light bulb does wonders for productivity, it may be detrimental to your health.
A paper published by Dr. Cathy Wyse from the University of Aberdeen in Bioessays suggests that since the advent of artificial light, people have been living out of step with their own internal clock, or ‘circadian’ cycle.
The natural circadian cycle, according to the paper, is in almost perfect sync with the Earth’s 24-hour rotation and influences the timing of our sleep/wake cycle, hormone releases and eating cycles among other functions.
When artificial light came on the scene, people were able to get up earlier and stay awake later, enabling a longer workday and more time for socializing. This shift in behavior allowed humans to ‘override an ancient synchronization between the rhythm of the human clock and the environment,’ according to Wyse.
Wyse posit that this ‘circadian desynchrony’ may be a key player in the rising obesity rates across the globe because humans now have irregular sleep and eating patterns, which often frustrate their natural metabolic functions.
While the light bulb isn’t going away any time soon, Wyse says that to avoid these consequences, it’s important to maintain regular sleep and eating patterns.