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News have been released that "according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), exposure to electrical light between dusk and bedtime strongly suppresses melatonin levels and may impact physiologic processes regulated by melatonin signaling, such as sleepiness, thermo regulation, blood pressure and glucose homeostasis."

In my book Lights Out, I have pointed out that melatonin and progesterone are both master-switch hormonal controllers. If either one is out of sync, it reads to nature as "pushing a red button." Any light at night changes natural rhythms.

As time goes on, we increase the amount of responsibilities and tasks that we take on, and as a result we sleep less and less. "In 1910 the average adult was still sleeping nine to ten hours a night. Now the average adult is lucky to get a full seven hours a night. You can't make melatonin in the daytime or with the lights on. We need to understand that "going to sleep with the sunset means a whole-body melatonin bath." When we sleep short nights that mimic summer mean: Reduced melatonin secretion which means reduces white cell immune function; A sever reduction in the most potent antioxidant that you have-melatonin."

In the study, recently reported researchers evaluated 116 healthy volunteers aged 18-30 years who were exposed to room light or dim light in the eight hours preceding bedtime for five consecutive days. An intravenous catheter was inserted into the forearms of study participants for continuous collection of blood plasma every 30-60 minutes for melatonin measurements. Results showed exposure to room light before bedtime shortened melatonin duration by about 90 minutes when compared to dim light exposure. Furthermore, exposure to room light during the usual hours of sleep suppressed melatonin by greater than 50 percent.

In Light's Out, I point to studies in 1993 and 1994 that reported that human volunteers at the NIH were monitored for hormonal release and brain activity by Dr. Thomas Wehr. The volunteers slept eight hours (a short night) and Fourteen hours (a long night.) The results included, "Longer periods of melatonin secretion upped white cell macrophage and lymphocyte production. The second most obvious difference hormonally between short and long nights was the amount and length of prolactin secretion. This change in melatonin and prolactin secretion reflected the long night's fragmented sleep pattern.

"Given that chronic light suppression of melatonin has been hypothesized to increase relative risk for some types of cancer and that melatonin receptor genes have been linked to type II diabetes, our findings could have important health implications for shift workers who are exposed to indoor light at night over the course of many years," said Joshua Gooley, PhD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. and lead author of the study.

Seventy million Americans admit they are tired. In Lights Out, I proved that the major killers correlated with obesity- heart disease, diabetes and cancer- are caused by short nights, by working ridiculously long hours, by literally burning the candle at both ends, and by the electricity that gives us the ability to do it." "Working late in bright lights after dark, or watching David Letterman or checking late-night E-mail, for even just half an hour, all register as the long days of summer to your inner environmental controls. The amount of sleep you get signals to your body the mode that it is in." Winter signifies famine to your internal controls. Famine on the horizon signifies instinctive carbohydrate craving to store fat for hibernation and scarcity." If you sleep at night for the number of hours it would normally be dark outside, you will only crave sugar in the summer, when the hours of light are long.

It is the perennial adaptation or the chronic, constant intent to hibernate, that causes overconsumption of carbohydrates and obesity and its attendant high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inevitable heart failure. In Sex, Lies and Menopause, I point out that "The artificial triggers of man-made light and food not only fool your insulin, cortisol, and melatonin system-which wreaks havoc with your sleep cycle and make you jumpy and crave sugar- they affect your sex hormones too. Without estrogen, women can't sleep. Estrogen grows life, and progesterone refines and stabilizes it. Our lifestyle of living in an endless summer will have to change before we can hope to solve the many ailments that come from sleep deprivation, with prescription drugs. The only person to benefit from sleeping is you.