Constant Daylight Leads to Insomnia, Suicide

New research in the journal BMC Psychiatry claims constant sunlight may cause sleep disturbances, leading to insomnia and ultimately raising suicide risk. For the study, scientists analyzed suicides in Greenland between 1968 and 2002, finding a cluster of suicides during summer months when the days are longer. Experts speculate days of constant sunlight may cause an imbalance of brain chemicals linked to mood and when paired with lack of sleep, could be deadly; Reuters investigates.

I’d have to put tinfoil on the windows! Dr. Fuhrman told me it’s about balance. Sunlight is necessary, our bodies convert the sun’s ultraviolet rays into vitamin D, which improves bone health, but sleep is important too. When we sleep our body removes brain waste and this allows for normal function of the nervous and endocrine systems.

In related news, expectant mothers getting enough sun are more likely to have children with stronger bones and sunlight helps older people avoid depression.


Image credit: markbarky

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Ron - May 13, 2009 9:21 AM

Thats crazy, I feel great when the sun shines more. At the end of the day (since its longer) I'm more tired and sleep better. Do these people get paid for this?

Steve - May 13, 2009 10:33 AM

Remember there is virtually no night at all at the start of the summer in Greenland. The sun hits the horizon and goes back up in the sky again. I could see that being too much of a good thing.


Val - May 13, 2009 11:54 AM

I have been plagued by insomnia for years, also suspect that I am afflicted w/a low-grade version of SAD - since my mood improves markedly w/longer daylight hrs in spring/summer!
but I can see how daylight 24/7 could knock your system out of whack...

James - May 14, 2009 12:16 AM

Conversely, the suicide rates for cities such as Seattle and Portland are also high because of LACK of sunlight!

Michael - May 16, 2009 9:40 AM

Like everything else, I'm sure there is an optimum amount of sunlight exposure. Too much or too little is likely to cause problems.

michael - July 2, 2009 2:11 PM

Yes its almost impossible to get a good night sleep just at the moment with this heat.

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