The world’s largest study on light exposure and its impact on mental health, with almost 87,000 participants, has found that increased exposure to light at night increases a person’s risk for psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, bipolar and PTSD severity as well as self-harm.

Importantly, the study also found that increasing exposure to daytime light can act like a non-pharmacological means for reducing psychosis risk.

In those exposed to high amounts of light at night, the risk of depression increased by 30 per cent – while those who were exposed to high amounts of light during the day reduced their risk of depression by 20 per cent. Similar patterns of results were seen for self-harm behaviour, psychosis, bipolar disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD.

These findings indicate that the simple practise of avoiding light at night and seeking brighter light during the day could be an effective, non-pharmacological means of reducing serious mental health issues.

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