Authors: Sharon Salt, Editor
Waking up in the middle of the night and checking what time it is on our smartphones is something that many people can relate to. While this acute exposure to light can make it difficult to fall back to sleep, scientists at Northwestern University (IL, USA) have indicated that it won’t interfere with the body’s overall circadian rhythms.
Within the study, which will be published in the journal eLife, researchers directly tested how sleep is affected by short pulses of light processed by the brain. They implicated that separate areas of the brain are responsible for either short- or long-term light exposure.
According to the team, this challenges the long-held belief that all light information is relayed through the brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which synchronizes the body’s sleep/wake cycles.