Correlation Engine 2.0
Clear Search sequence regions

Sizes of these terms reflect their relevance to your search.

Artificial lighting is omnipresent in contemporary society with disruptive consequences for human sleep and circadian rhythms because of overexposure to light, particularly in the evening/night hours. Recent evidence shows large individual variations in circadian photosensitivity, such as melatonin suppression, due to artificial light exposure. Despite the emerging body of research indicating that the effects of light on sleep and circadian rhythms vary dramatically across individuals, recommendations for appropriate light exposure in real-life settings rarely consider such individual effects. This review addresses recently identified links among individual traits, for example, age, sex, chronotype, genetic haplotypes, and the effects of evening/night light on sleep and circadian hallmarks, based on human laboratory and field studies. Target biological mechanisms for individual differences in light sensitivity include differences occurring within the retina and downstream, such as the central circadian clock. This review also highlights that there are wide gaps of uncertainty, despite the growing awareness that individual differences shape the effects of evening/night light on sleep and circadian physiology. These include (1) why do certain individual traits differentially affect the influence of light on sleep and circadian rhythms; (2) what is the translational value of individual differences in light sensitivity in populations typically exposed to light at night, such as night shift workers; and (3) what is the magnitude of individual differences in light sensitivity in population-based studies? Collectively, the current findings provide strong support for considering individual differences when defining optimal lighting specifications, thus allowing for personalized lighting solutions that promote quality of life and health. © Sleep Research Society 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Sleep Research Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail


Sarah L Chellappa. Individual differences in light sensitivity affect sleep and circadian rhythms. Sleep. 2021 Feb 12;44(2)

Expand section icon Mesh Tags

Expand section icon Substances

PMID: 33049062

View Full Text