If you have to sleep with a night light on you might think that blue and white lights might create a calming sensation and help you sleep best. However, a new study involving hamsters suggests that blue light had worst effects on mood, followed closely by white light. So what is the best color for night lights? The answer will surprise you!
The hamsters exposed to red light at night had significantly less evidence of depressive-like symptoms and changes in the brain linked to depression, compared to those that experienced blue or white light. However, total darkness at bedtime is still best for sleep.
So why is the color red a better light for at night?
Specialized photosensitive cells called ipRGC’s are located in the retina of our eyes. These cells are able to detect any light and send messages to a part of the brain that helps regulate the body’s circadian clock. This is the body’s master clock that helps determine when people feel sleepy and awake. These ipRGC cells are most sensitive to blue wavelengths of light and least sensitive to red wavelengths.
In nearly every measure of this study, the hamsters exposed to blue light were the worst off, followed by those exposed to white light. While total darkness was best, red light was not nearly as bad as the other wavelengths studied.
So if you need a night light in the bathroom or bedroom, it may be better to have one that gives off red light rather than white light! Why not give it a try at home and experiment on how the change in color makes you feel! Also, make sure to download an app on your wireless devices to emit red light a few hours before bedtime. A few examples of apps you can download are Twilight (android), Flux (iOS, Mac).
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