Green Light Promotes Sleep While Blue Light Delays It

Posted: Jun 10 2016, 8:35am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Green Light Promotes Sleep While Blue Light Delays It
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  • Green and Blue Light have Individual Effects on Sleep

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It has been found that green and blue light have individual effects on sleep and wakefulness cycles.

A team of researchers from Oxford have demonstrated how different colors in light affect sleep in different ways. Originally, they were trying to determine how mice reacted to bright lights in a lab.

The light caused two different responses from the rodents. When mice were exposed to light during the night, they nevertheless did fall asleep. However, the corticosterone levels also shot up. This is produced from the adrenal glands and is responsible for wakefulness.

The relationship between stimulus and response was sought by the experts. Also the blue light sensitive pigment in the pupils of the mice was examined on an in-depth level. It is called melanopsin. This chemical plays a significant role in setting our internal body clock in accordance with the circadian rhythms.

Mice were exposed to violet, blue and green light. The scientists thought that the blue light would cause a mouse in the lab to fall asleep. Yet such was not the case. Green light is responsible for sleepiness. Within one and three minutes of green light being focused on mice, they fell asleep.

As for the blue and violet light, they managed to delay sleep-time by several minutes. It took the mice 16 to 19 minutes to fall asleep in case of blue light and 5 to 10 minutes to doze off in case of violet light.

Thus blue light was the chief offender in the onset of sleep disorders. Violet and green light didn’t have that much of an effect on sleep quality. The role of melanopsin is crucial in the onset of sleep.

Those mice which lacked melanopsin had green, blue and violet light projected on their eyes. Here the effects were the opposite of the standard responses shown by mice. Blue caused sleep in this case while green and violet caused arousal.

Thus one thing is for sure and that is that melanopsin is a very necessary component of the sleep-wake cycles in mice. Blue light caused the maximum rise in corticosterone levels in normal mice too.

Thus the eyes which are a part of the brain show this complex chemistry in relation to light of various colors. Adrenal stress is the main factor in these sleep-wake cycles of mice. Maybe light shades of various colors could be employed as a part of future therapies for sleep and wakefulness.

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