YELLOW LIGHT, BLUE LIGHT, & SLEEP interesting article

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by victoria, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. victoria

    victoria New Member

    It's long but interesting:

    Some excerpts below:
    Science News Online
    Week of May 27, 2006; Vol. 169, No. 21
    Light Impacts
    Hue & timing determine whether rays are beneficial or detrimental
    Janet Raloff

    Erin Chesky was a sleep-troubled teen, typical of many. Despite going to bed early each night, this honor roll student struggled to doze off—sometimes lying awake until 3 a.m. Each morning, she fought equally hard to wake up at 5:30, in time to eat breakfast and catch the school bus. Forever tired, "I was like a zombie," she recalls.

    DROWSY-NOT! The bluish light emitted by computer screens may be sabotaging sleep schedules in teens who work late into the night. The hue might signal the biological clock that it's morning.

    Last fall, a sleep specialist examined the 17-year-old from Colonie, N.Y. He diagnosed her with delayed sleep-phase syndrome, a condition in which the body's internal clock fails to synchronize appropriately with Earth's day-night cycle, which changes a few minutes each day.

    From birth, Erin and her siblings were night owls. When Erin turned 15 however, her biological clock really got off-kilter, triggering insomnia that threatened her schoolwork. Her mom recognized the affliction; it had struck her at the same age.

    For such teens, adhering to class schedules can be "like swimming upstream," says psychologist Paul Glovinsky of the Capital Region Sleep and Wake Disorders Center at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, N.Y. Some teens fail to make it to school on time, or at all, 30 or more days a year.

    Within 4 months, Glovinsky got Erin in sync with her school's schedule. The high school junior now easily falls asleep by 11 p.m. Glovinsky's trick: entraining Erin's biological clock. Each morning, a special lamp delivers a half-hour of intense fluorescent light as she eats breakfast or reads.

    Mariana G. Figueiro of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center in nearby Troy, N.Y., uses colored light at night to aid elderly institutionalized patients. An early evening treatment from some 50 blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) coaxes a person's fractured sleep into solid, nightlong slumber.

    Elsewhere, researchers are experimenting with color-tuned light to perk up the body, improve visual acuity, and even reduce depression. Such techniques all stem from an emerging realization that for the body, light's role extends well beyond vision.

    Moody blues
    Because sunlight is a broad mix of colors, the human eye perceives it as white. Lamps used in past attempts to adjust people's internal clocks have emitted a broad composite of colors that also appeared white.

    However, suspecting that the biological clock preferentially responds to select elements of the spectrum, George C. Brainard and his team at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia launched a 5-year effort to find the most-effective hues. The project tested 72 people and encompassed more than 600 person-nights of observation.

    Results, published 5 years ago, showed that the biological clock is most responsive to a narrow band of wavelengths ... which are close to the blue of a clear sky.

    "It's not something we would have predicted," Brainard notes, since these wavelengths aren't ones to which the eye's vision receptors—rods and cones—are most sensitive...

    Brainard says that an explanation for the biological clock's blue sensitivity soon emerged in "a landmark paper that stunned the world."

    Four years ago, retinal neuroscientist David M. Berson and his colleagues at Brown University in Providence, R.I., described a new class of light receptors in the human eye. . . located in a minute share of ganglion cells, the information- processing units that send signals to various parts of the brain.

    Moreover, these cells appeared to be the most important source of information for brain area, the superchiasmatic nucleus, which is "the biological equivalent to the clock chip on your computer," Berson says.

    . . .Figueiro and others began testing how well blue light can reset people's circadian clocks. Over the past 3 years, for instance, Figueiro has worked with eight Alzheimer's patients who tended to fall asleep around 7 p.m. Their body clocks were running amok—probably, she says, because these shut-ins didn't encounter blue skies or other light that was bright enough to prevent circadian drift.

    Exposure to red light around suppertime for 2 hours each day for 10 successive days had no effect on the patients' disordered sleep. However, Figueiro found, a similar exposure to blue-LED light prompted the study participants to fall asleep later and then sleep longer and better than they had before the treatment.

    Brainard's team has also investigated blue-light therapy. The researchers tested 24 people with winter depression, also known as seasonal-affective disorder (SAD). Half were given light boxes lit by red LEDs, and the rest had boxes lit by blue LEDs. Early every morning for a month in winter, each volunteer sat directly in front of one of the light boxes for 45 minutes.

    . . .the scientists report that people who got blue-light treatment experienced almost a 60% reduction in SAD symptoms compared with a 40% reduction in people receiving red light. Moreover, the blue light's intensity, 400 lux, which is comparable to the light reflected from a well-lit desktop, yielded symptom reductions comparable to those seen in other studies using glaring, 10,000-lux white light.

    Mellow yellow
    Ganglion cells aren't the only source of information for the biological clock, says Mark S. Rea, a biophysicist at the Rensselaer lighting center. . . .color-signaling cones can mute the ganglion cells' impact on the biological clock, as measured by changes in the hormone melatonin.

    Secreted by the brain, melatonin not only helps trigger and maintain sleep but also plays a role in regulating the body's internal clock (SN: 5/13/95, p. 300). Dusk and darkness normally trigger melatonin production, whereas bright light can suppress it.

    Rea's team exposed four men to mercury-vapor lamps in two hour-long sessions at various times between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. In white-light sessions, the intensity was either 450 or 1,050 lux and always included both blue and yellow wavelengths. In other sessions, filters removed all but 7.5 or 15 lux of blue light. The scientists monitored the volunteers' blood-melatonin concentrations throughout the evening test periods.

    The high-lux, white-light mercury lamp suppressed the nighttime melatonin by 50 percent. So did the 15-lux blue light—despite its low intensity. The low-lux white light didn't perform nearly as well as those or even the 7.5-lux blue light, which reduced nighttime melatonin by more than 30 percent. The researchers reported their findings in the October 2005 Neuroendocrinology Letters.

    The results suggest that yellow light can blunt the body clock's response to blue light, Figueiro says. When both blue and yellow are present, equal intensities of the two cancel each other. Only if there's an excess of blue will the cones signal light's presence to the biological clock.

    Yellow-light therapy might be especially helpful in teens, whose body clocks tend to run late. Most people naturally wake about 2 hours after their core body temperature reaches its daily minimum, typically around 5 a.m. . . . If intense blue light, such as that present in sunlight, arrives before this time, it may further delay their clock and natural waking time.

    . . .Glovinsky and others have begun prescribing ... yellow glasses to enable sleep-disorder patients to better control when they encounter blue light.

    Spectral caffeine?
    Bright white light can perk up drowsy people. Steven W. Lockley of Harvard Medical School in Boston and his colleagues decided to test whether specific colors within that light are particularly arousing. . . . .


    there's lots more fascinating info in the article at the url about what is being developed and has been developed... worthwhile printing out and reading the whole thing!

    all the best,

    [This Message was Edited on 10/15/2006]
  2. victoria

    victoria New Member

    notice the time I posted that article... fittingly, it was 3:14 AM my time (EDT)! I actually didn't go to sleep until 4:30 AM - this happens about once/week, usually am in bed at least by 1:30 or so. But I have always been a night owl, as have my kids...

    I also posted an article a while back about genetic influences on being an early morning 'lark' person or late night 'owl' person, that found 'larks' had a genetic mutation lol... but apparently we owls can change to fit modern society, according to the above research.

    Someone I sent this article to reminded me of some research a few years ago that found shining blue light on the back of knees helped reset sleep patterns... forgot all about that. Wonder if that worked?

    all the best,
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I appreciate your posting this info. It's very interesting.

    The necessity to avoid sunlight is one of the reasons I discarded the Marshall Protocol for consideration. They don't call this The Sunshine State for nothin'.

    Love, Mikie
  4. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I wonder if we can modify our behavior?

    Mikie... yep, I'm not really looking at this for myself actually; and I'm appreciating the shorter days, that is for sure!

    But I found this interesting possibly for my son who still has hyperinsomnia, doesn't usually go to sleep until 3-6 AM when on abx in particular, but otherwise not until 1-2 AM anyway!

    all the best,

  5. Prunella

    Prunella New Member

    We get this magazine and I posted on this a while back. Thanks for printing this out. I think it is real important with all the complaints about insomnia on this board.

    I am not usually at this time of day anymore. Thanks for the reminder! I'm getting off now!!! Bye!
  6. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    that light is far more important than most realize. It's also terribly COMPLEX! (white, blue, yellow, when, how much...)

    I wish I knew what the bottom line was...kinda sounds like wearing yellow-tinted lenses at night would cancel out the blue light most of us are exposed to. Maybe I'll find some cool (warm) yellow glasses and try that!

    I find it difficult to believe that light therapy can truly change a person's night-owl tendencies, which I believe are often genetic. But maybe it CAN help...I'm sure the excessive light at night (especially computers) makes the "owl" tendencies worse!
  7. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I was just reading elliespad's post about samE (or is it SAMe? LOL) -

    it works as the opposite of melatonin and can help with insomnia... and some other really interesting things -

    Calling all night owls, look up her post! LOL! but - I am definitely giving my son some as soon as I can get some.

    all the best,

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