Impacts of artificial light at night on sleep: A review and prospectus

J Exp Zool A Ecol Integr Physiol. 2018 Oct;329(8-9):409-418. doi: 10.1002/jez.2189. Epub 2018 Jun 4.


Natural cycles of light and darkness govern the timing of most aspects of animal behavior and physiology. Artificial light at night (ALAN)-a recent and pervasive form of pollution-can mask natural photoperiodic cues and interfere with biological rhythms. One such rhythm vulnerable to perturbation is the sleep-wake cycle. ALAN may greatly influence sleep in humans and wildlife, particularly in animals that sleep predominantly at night. There has been some recent evidence for impacts of ALAN on sleep, but critical questions remain. Some of these can be addressed by adopting approaches already entrenched in sleep research. In this paper, we review the current evidence for impacts of ALAN on sleep, highlight gaps in our understanding, and suggest opportunities for future research.

Keywords: ALAN; anthropogenic light; circadian rhythms; electroencephalogram; pollution; urbanization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / radiation effects
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Light / adverse effects
  • Lighting / adverse effects*
  • Sleep / radiation effects*
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm / etiology