According to recent research, blue light typically given off by LED lighting can make the brain more alert, and could be more effective at keeping you awake than caffeine.
Researchers at the University of Greenwich decided to test the theory that working under ‘blue-enriched’ light bulbs would be better than normal office lighting. The study, which lasted two months, found that workers really did notice the benefits of blue light. They reported that they felt happier, more alert, had less eye strain, and in general, got more work done.
According to the research, there is a particular blue part of the light spectrum that has a powerful and uplifting effect. A family of specialised sensitive cells within the eye are there to ‘see’ the blue colour of the sky (or 460nm). And when these recently discovered photo-receptors sense blue light, nervous impulses fire into the brain which wake us up, increase alertness and boost concentration.
Exposure to Blue Light Enhances Stimulates Brain Function
More research carried out at Mid Sweden University also found that blue light has a positive effect on the brain, and that people exposed to blue light performed better on tests of brain function that included a distraction. The study builds on research that suggests blue light can improve cognitive abilities such as memory, alertness and reaction time. ‘Blue light has the potential to positively influence a range of settings where cognitive function and alertness are important.’ said the authors of the report.
The human body naturally uses blue light to regulate your biological clock, the cycle that controls when you wake up and go to sleep. Blue light also plays a role in basic functions of the human brain such as alertness, memory, emotion, and cognitive performance. In some conditions, light therapy using wavelengths of blue light is known as an effective treatment helping people of all ages.
Phototherapy in the form of blue light waves is a standard treatment used to reduce high levels of bilirubin in the blood of newborns. Due to frequencies that effectively destroy bacteria, some dermatologists use blue light therapy to treat skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis.
Blue Light Therapy as Effective as Antidepressants
Blue light therapy is also used to help people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression resulting from a lack of daylight in the winter. While it’s fairly common for people to experience minor mood changes without adequate sunlight, severe forms of SAD can result in debilitating fatigue, appetite changes, and mood disorders. Studies have even shown that for some people, blue light therapy can be just as effective as antidepressant medications.
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