Paksarian D, Rudolph KE, Stapp EK, et al. Association of Outdoor Artificial Light at Night With Mental Disorders and Sleep Patterns Among US Adolescents. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online July 08, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1935
Question Are levels of outdoor artificial light at night associated with adolescent sleep patterns and past-year mental disorder?
Findings In a cross-sectional, nationally representative survey of US adolescents, higher levels of outdoor artificial light at night, measured via satellite, were associated with later weeknight bedtimes; those in the lowest quartile of nighttime light reported the longest weeknight sleep durations. Adolescents in areas with greater levels of nighttime light also had higher prevalence of past-year mood and anxiety disorders.
Meaning Future studies of adolescent mental and sleep health should consider contextual-level measures of light at night, in addition to individual-level exposure.
Importance Indoor nighttime light exposure influences sleep and circadian rhythms and is known to affect mood-associated brain circuits in animals. However, little is known about the association between levels of nighttime outdoor light and sleep and mental health in the population, especially among adolescents.
Conclusions and Relevance In this study, area-level outdoor ALAN was associated with less favorable sleep patterns and mood and anxiety disorder in adolescents. Future studies should elucidate whether interventions to reduce exposure to ALAN may positively affect mental and sleep health.