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Staring at a phone screen before bed can cause depression – Chinese researchers claim

Chinese experiments suggest harmful blue light emissions from your device at night trigger a mysterious neural mechanism, leading to behavioural changes.  

The research team found that mice exposed to blue light for two hours a night over a few weeks started showing depressive-like behaviour.  

The neural pathway responsible for this phenomenon may provide insight into how exposure to excessive light at night time affects humans. 

Artificial sources of blue light include fluorescent bulbs, LEDs, flat screen LED televisions, computer monitors, smart phones and tablet screens.

Excessive light exposure at night from light pollution or electronic devices has been associated with depressive symptoms.

While light therapy applied in the daytime is known to have anti-depressive properties, excessive light exposure at night has been associated with depressive symptoms, the team claim. .

If light activates the same pathway in humans as in mice, this could explain why exposure to excessive night-time light is associated with depressive symptoms?

The researchers also found that light exposure at night activated this pathway much more strongly than light during the day, which may explain why daytime light exposure did not cause behavioural changes

If light activates the same pathway in humans, these findings could explain why exposure to excessive night-time light is associated with depressive symptoms, the authors conclude

Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum  what the human eye can see. 

About one-third of all visible light is considered high-energy visible, or ‘blue’, light. 

Artificial sources of blue light include fluorescent light, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, LEDs, flat screen LED televisions, computer monitors, smart phones and tablet screens. 

Continued exposure to blue light over time could damage retinal cells and cause vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration. 

Short-wavelength, high-energy blue lightscatters more easily than other visible light. 

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