High sensitivity and interindividual variability in the response of the human circadian system to evening light

Significance:

Electric lighting has fundamentally altered how the human circadian clock synchronizes to the day/night cycle. Exposure to light after dusk is pervasive in the modern world. We examined group-level sensitivity of the circadian system to evening light and the degree to which sensitivity varies between individuals. We found that, on average, humans are highly sensitive to evening light. Specifically, 50% suppression of melatonin occurred at <30 lux, which is comparable to or lower than typical indoor lighting used at night, as well as light produced by electronic devices. Significantly, there was a >50-fold difference in sensitivity to evening light across individuals. Interindividual differences in light sensitivity may explain differential vulnerability to circadian disruption and subsequent impact on human health.

Read more at https://www.pnas.org/content/116/24/12019.short?rss=1