What happens when we light up the night? Evening light and the impacts on sleep

Join Associate Professor Sean Cain, Dr Andrew Phillips and Professor Sally Ferguson as they lead a discussion on new Australian research discoveries into the field of nocturnal light measurement and associations with sleep outcomes.


The impact of light at times of day that are not biologically ideal is still poorly understood beyond the field of chronobiology. Yet, there is a rapidly developing evidence base with implications for all practitioners and scientists in the field of sleep medicine. 

We often suggest to the broader community as part of our public health messaging that dim light is the best light in the evening before sleep - but is this what is happening in the community? Novel Australian research in 2019-2020 has characterised the impact of light exposure in the evening on subsequent sleep and shown that we are still routinely 'lighting up our night'. This has implications for our rhythms, and our ability to sleep well.

On Tuesday, 10 August, our speakers will unpack cutting-edge methods for measuring our light diets, the implication for melatonin levels at night, and how this new research with novel devices can help us to better schedule sleep, even when we need to be awake at night.

Key take away points from this webinar:

  • Australians routinely experience bright light in the evening, which affects sleep quality and has been exacerbated by the transition to LED home lighting
  • There are ways we can measure evening light, and provide individualised strategies for improving individual exposure to light at night
  • Insights shared afford unique insights into intervention opportunities for shift working populations

Who would benefit from attending this webinar?
Any researcher or practitioner interested in the factors affecting sleep onset and maintenance, including sleep physicians and scientists.


Associate Professor Sean Cain: Turner Institute, Monash University
Associate Professor Sean Cain is an expert in circadian rhythms. He is the current President of the Australasian Chronobiology Society. His laboratory focus is on the individual differences in the sensitivity of the circadian system to light and how these differences lead to poor health outcomes, including sleep disorders, metabolic disease and depression.

Dr Andrew Phillips: Turner Institute, Monash University
Dr Andrew Phillips is a Senior Lecturer within the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health in the School of Psychological Sciences. His research vision is to understand the physiology and function of circadian rhythms and sleep, with three main areas of focus - the importance of sleep regularity for human health; the sensitivity of the human circadian system to light; and the development of physiological models for predicting circadian timing, sleep and alertness. Dr Phillips has developed mathematical models and health-based metrics that are widely used in the sleep and circadian fields, including the Sleep Regularity Index (SRI). He has also made fundamental discoveries about the circadian system, including inter-individual differences in sensitivity to light. His work is closely integrated with experiments, so that model predictions can be tested and additional insights can be gleaned from data.

Professor Sally Ferguson: CQUniversity Australia
Professor Sally Ferguson is the Director of the Appleton Institute in the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, and a Research Professor. Prof Ferguson's background is circadian biology and understanding how the body clock helps keep us synchronized to the world around us and what happens when we work against our clocks. In the last ten years this key research interest has led to asking questions about the relationship between sleep, wake and work patterns, particularly for those working shiftwork. She also undertakes work in the area of fatigue risk management.

This webinar is free for ASA members and open to non-members for a registration fee of $45. To register you will need to log in with your member details, or create an account on this website if you're not a member.

The webinar will be recorded and made available online afterwards - free to ASA members and for a small fee to others. By registering to attend, you are giving your permission to be recorded.

Please note:

  • You will need to finalise your registration through the shopping cart, even if you are registering for free
  • Registrations closes three hours before (8:00am AEST) the webinar starts and you will not be able to register after that
  • We will email you the webinar access details in the lead up to the webinar and again on the day of the webinar

Enquiries about this webinar should be directed to Asha Mohabir.

Date: Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Time: 11:00am - NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT and TAS
           10:30am - SA and NT
           9:00am - WA
           1:00pm - NZ

8/10/2021 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
AUS Eastern Standard Time

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