Lighting and Breast Cancer Drugs

Our sleep cycle is affected by melatonin and light. When the sun goes down, the pineal gland secretes melatonin and that helps us sleep. Melatonin has also been shown to help with immune system issues, age related disorders and even the shrinking of tumors. New research has shown though, that when we have artificial lights on, even in dim settings, we are affecting melatonin levels and that is causing issues with the breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen.lights-Rats-tamoxifen

Lighting and Your Body

Researchers recently conducted tests on rats given Tamoxifen and then exposed to dim lighting during the evening and night. They placed 12 rats in 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark and 12 other rats in 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dim lighting. The scientists discovered the tumors in the rats that spent 24 hours in some kind of light growing exponentially, 2.6 times faster, and saw lower than normal melatonin levels. Once given a melatonin supplement, the tumors began to shrink again as the Tamoxifen worked. The rats that spent 12 hours in light and 12 hours in dark had normal melatonin levels and the drug along with melatonin kept the tumors from growing and shrank them.

The Lighting Implications

Scientists have always argued that sleeping in a completely dark room is the best way to ensure we get enough sleep. This is due to melatonin production. What they didn’t know was how dim lighting in the room as we slept might affect not only melatonin production but the affect of some cancer fighting drugs. Researchers in this study are concerned that even the amount of light from a street lamp coming through a window could affect the efficacy of Tamoxifen. They are already conducting more research.

The best advice: keep your lights on when you need them. Turn them all off and keep your room dark at night…get the best sleep you can!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.