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Do your aging parents spend a significant amount of time with the curtains drawn and the lights dimmed? If so, fascinating new research shows that they may actually be lowering their defenses against serious illnesses, as well as disrupting the body’s natural daily cycle. As scientists discover that the eye is even more complex than previously thought, they are finding that it plays an important role in keeping us healthy. Those of us who provide in-home care providers in San Diego County may be able to improve our clients’ health by simply opening the curtains!
The Key to Circadian Rhythm
When we wake up in the morning, our bodies produce cortisol to increase the activity of the functions that we don’t use very much while we’re sleeping. When we go to bed, melatonin slows those functions back down so we can rest. The key to the regulation of this cycle, called “Circadian rhythm,” is the eye’s reception of light—blue light in particular.
Eye Damage Impairs Light Reception
As the eye decays over time, it becomes less efficient at receiving and processing light stimulation. This means that the body becomes less aware of its need to produce enough cortisol for vigorous daily life, and enough melatonin to provide a profitable night of sleep. Irregular sleep cycles directly lead to insomnia, sleepiness during the day, and decreased energy, but also lower the body’s ability to protect itself against disease. Physical illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer become more likely, as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as the brain fails to maintain the health of its cells.
How In-Home Caregivers Near 4S Ranch Can Help
The researchers studying the eye’s function in regulating bodily rhythms say that the best approach is to make sure that elderly individuals get plenty of light in the morning and throughout the day—preferably natural sunlight. In-home caregivers near 4S Ranch should take the responsibility to raise blinds, pull back curtains, and even open windows it it’s a nice day. In fact, the average elderly person needs even more light than younger people, because the natural decay of the eye reduces the percentage of light that it receives.
So turn on those lights, open the shades, and enjoy the warmCaliforniasunshine! By the way, an additional finding of this research is the fact that when your body’s rhythm is synchronized with the sun’s rise and fall, your moods and attitudes are much better. So maybe there’s a direct lesson for 4S Ranch in-home caregivers: Make sure you’re getting enough sunlight yourselves!
Original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/health/aging-of-eyes-is-blamed-in-circadian-rhythm-disturbances.html?_r=3