Saturday, February 24, 2007

Me and My Carcinogenic Night Light

There's lots of talk about the health hazards associated with working late and sleeping late, but I've recently come across a guaranteed best-seller. Spoke at a seminar not too long ago about something or other, and was chatting with a fellow speaker after I was through. She was a doctor AND a lawyer (obviously an older lady). Asked me why I looked a little peaked. Have been up since 3 am, I told her. Paperwork is a bitch.

I thought she'd give me the standard reply - you should sleep more, eat properly, yadda yadda. But no. What did she say? You will get cancer. Yep. Cancer.

I'm sorry, what?

Yes. Do you know that if you do not sleep in complete darkness for at least 6 hours, your cell renewal is interrupted and cancer cells are formed?

[Because she was both a lawyer and a doctor, I took to heart the last part of her sentence. "Are formed." Not "could be formed" or "may be formed". "Are formed" is a bloody certainty]

So what happens if I fall asleep with the light on? I said, sipping on my (also) potentially carcinogenic coffee.

Oh. Then your body will form cancer cells lor.

So what happens if some light from the street comes into my bedroom at night?

Cancer cells will still form. You have to sleep in complete darkness! She smiled blithely. I thought I must be asleep and having a nightmare.

I mean, seriously. I do not have blackout curtains. I read before I sleep. Sometimes I don't sleep because I'm sitting in front of a computer. Not only is that going to have the standard effects on my body and complexion - it could also give me cancer??????!!!!!!! Am I literally killing myself, just living day by day? Worse still, when I read a book before I sleep at night, am I giving The Sleeping Husband and The Sleeping Son cancer as well??????

Ok! I have to go! she said, beaming. I wanted to kill her.


At 4:14 AM, Anonymous midnight shakes the memory said...

my god. is that for real? i'm screwed!!! guess i better get some black spray paint for my bedroom windows... :>

ps. effing freemail accounts. my beloved longtime free email provider finally decided to sell out. just found out day before yesterday. they are handing things over to another company; not sure what the transition will be like yet. but both the incoming and outgoing mail servers have not been working for the last 2 days, which does not bode well. am looking for a replacement, temporary or otherwise, will drop you a note when i've found something decent >.< :)

At 7:34 AM, Blogger The UnCensored Mama said...

is the lady joking maybe?

I would have to look at some concrete scientific evidence (i.e. good research as opposed to just correlational statistics) before I would believe something like that.

At 1:14 PM, Anonymous cakie said...


I sleep with the lights on EVERY NIGHT cos i'm afraid of the dark!


I am so dying of cancer.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Little Miss Drinkalot said...

I think she's the one with cancer cells growing in her brain.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger expat@large said...

This is an interesting post highlighting the potential for a marked discrepancy between 'education' and 'intelligence' - they are not always seen together in the same person.

The association between 'intelligence', 'education' and 'gullibility' is also highlighted.

Is this person a real practicing Doctor? Methinks she needs a lot *more* practice before she is allowed to talk to real patients. Methinks she received her Medical Degree as an insert with a packet of breakfast cereal: Froot Loops most likely.

No, working late does not give you cancer. It gives you lack of discretion re: who or what you believe.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger The UnCensored Mama said...

buahahaha. expat hit it right on the thumb - ouch. hehehe too funny

At 4:29 PM, Blogger valkyrie said...

i voiced this concern to my new temporary landlord (who is doing his phd in a medical field) and he squashed the theory flat. :P

methinks the old fart you spoke to is a quack.

At 4:16 AM, Blogger tazie said...

i burst out laughing when i read your blog..
then i stop short when i realised cancer cells are forming everyday while i sleep....

she has a weird sense of humor.

she couldn't be right... can she?

At 9:00 PM, Anonymous cakie said...

Actually I did read about it before quite long ago, but it was in my mind as I sleep with the lights on everyday.

What I read was, if I didn't remember wrongly that doing so would result in a higher risk of getting cancer.

And that's all I remember about it. Can't remember where i read it or what, so it's not that reliable.

I tried googling, but as of now I don't really have time to really go find out. However the first hit was a patent for anti-carcinogenic lights, which I guess would mean that there are indeed carcinogenic lights?

The patent's here if anyone's interested. =)

(sorry to leave sucha long comment. just for sharing's sake.)

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

Hi there,

Hope this comment finds you well.

I'm a research assistant from the blogtv team of Channel NewsAsia, Singapore. is a new talk show with a never-been-done concept in Singapore. We are turning the traditional television talk show on its head by transporting the blogosphere onto the television screen. Discussion topics are derived from materials on blogosphere. Be it blogs, podcasts, video clips and all – any user-generated contents from Singapore and the region in Asia, will be used as fodder for the programme. This show has two hosts—Flying Dutchman, and Lin Xue Ling.

We're actually going to be recording an episode on the topic of taxi drivers. As part of the show, it would be interesting to get different bloggers (of various ages and even from various parts of the world) to come on to discuss the topic. In the midst of research, we actually chanced upon your post on taxi drivers dated 3rd november 2006– we're hoping to get you to participate in this discussion as we feel that you would have valuable points to add to the discussion. Thus we would really like to invite you onto our show to share your views and thoughts with us.

If you want to know more about the show or even catch a couple of episodes, do go to

Let me know your thoughts?



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At 10:52 PM, Anonymous anon said...

oh, i've actually read about that before in some article, but like what cindy had said it's more like it increases the risk of cancer. and hampens cell renewal too...

At 11:34 PM, Blogger expat@large said...

Hey I have a zillion posts about taxi drivers! Why no call me!

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question.. Will wearing an eyemask (that blocks out most of the light) help?

At 9:21 AM, Blogger HairyDonut said...

I don't think it will. According to this urban legend, it's the rest of your body cells that need to be kept in absolute darkness.

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