Sabita Devi, an IT professional working from home, experienced disruptions in her sleep-wake cycle, agitation, and depression after spending long hours in a dimly lit room. Gradually, she discovered the adverse effects of prolonged exposure to darkness on mental health. Research indicates that melatonin, a hormone produced in the absence of light, regulates sleep patterns and mood.
Lack of light can lead to high melatonin secretion, disrupting the circadian rhythm and affecting the production of serotonin and endorphins, increasing the risk of mental health conditions such as depression. Sunlight, a crucial energy provider, helps maintain cellular function and prevents conditions like depression.
“Lack of light plays a key role in mental illness,” says Dr Bharath Holla, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru. Sunlight deprivation can have a severe impact on mental health, emphasizing the importance of natural light over artificial sources, he says.
Read more about the connection between light and depression here.
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