Light pollution from street lamps may be interfering with the sleep patterns and health of millions of people who live in urban areas, according to new research.

"Our world has become a 24/7 society. We use outdoor lighting, such a street lights, to be more active at night and to increase our safety and security," said study author Maurice Ohayon, from Stanford University in California.

"The concern is that we have reduced our exposure to darkness and it could be affecting our sleep," said Ohayon.

For the study, 15,863 people were interviewed by phone over an eight-year period. They were asked about sleep habits, quality of sleep as well as medical and psychiatric disorders.

The researchers looked at how much outdoor light those people were exposed to at night.

People living in urban areas of 500,000 people or more were exposed to nighttime lights that were three to six times more intense than people living in small towns and rural areas.

The study shows that nighttime light affects sleep duration and was significantly associated with sleep disturbances. People living in more intense light areas were six percent more likely to sleep less than six hours per night than those in less intense light areas.

People living in more intense light areas were more likely to be dissatisfied with their sleep quantity or quality than those in less intense light areas, with 29 percent dissatisfied compared to 16 percent. Those with high light exposure were also more likely to report fatigue than those with low light exposure, with 9 percent compared to 7 percent.

Latest News from Lifestyle News Desk