Is Late-Night TV Really Why You’re So Depressed?

conanHey, I have a great way to make depressed people feel better -- let's tell them all the reasons why being depressed is all their fault! In fact, let's find scientific proof! Yes, yet another study is out linking depressive symptoms to something depressed people do every day, like brushing their teeth or putting on socks. This time?

"Animal research" suggests that "exposure to dim lighting at night — such as that generated by a TV screen, computer, or night-light," may lead to abject misery, overall lethargy, malaise of the soul, or whatever else you want to call depression.

Okay. Fascinating as I find mood disorders in laboratory hamsters who fall asleep watching Chelsea Lately or Conan or Jimmy Fallon, I'm not buying this one. To me, this is clearly a "chicken or egg" issue, and researchers got the order wrong.


Think about it: If you're staying up all night going online for more details about Kristen Stewart's affair or watching reruns of House because you can't sleep, chances are something might be bothering you already. You know? Seems a lot more likely that you're zoning out in front of a screen in the wee hours because, frankly, you're pretty bummed out and can't deal rather than the other way around.

The same researchers also theorize that skyrocketing depression rates over the past 50 years are linked to an upswing in tube (laptop, whatever) time. Sure, because it's not like a ton of other really depressing stuff has happened in the past 50 years or anything.

Poor hamsters. Stuck in a lab. It's enough to make a girl depressed just thinking about the little guys.

Do you think too much artificial light leads to depression?


Image via Debs/Flickr

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