WTF Fun Fact 13660 – Blue Light and Sleep

Scientists have made some interesting discoveries about the connection between blue light and sleep.

Artificial lighting, particularly blue light from LED devices, has a notable impact on us. It disrupts melatonin production, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep, leading to potential sleep issues. But not all blue light is equal.

Blue Light and Sleep

LED lights in our gadgets and homes emit blue light, which ranges in wavelength from 380 to 500 nanometers (nm). However, not all blue light has the same effect. Wavelengths between 460 and 500 nm are particularly disruptive to melatonin production, impacting our ability to fall asleep.

In response to these challenges, researchers have developed innovative “human-centric” LEDs. These lights are designed to support natural circadian rhythms regardless of the time of day they are used.

The researchers created two types of LEDs, each emitting different wavelengths of blue light. One is tailored for daytime use, emitting blue light close to 475 nm, while the other, intended for evening use, emits blue light near 450 nm. This latter wavelength is outside the range known to disturb sleep.

Testing the New LEDs

The research team integrated these LEDs into conventional light bulbs, converting some blue light into red and green with phosphors, to produce white light. They then conducted an experiment in a windowless room, furnished with a desk, treadmill, and bed, equipped with these innovative bulbs.

Over a three-day period, male volunteers stayed in the room, exposed to different lighting conditions controlled by a computer. This setup allowed for a direct comparison between conventional and new LED bulbs.

Saliva samples collected from 22 volunteers revealed significant differences in melatonin levels based on the type of LED exposure. The use of the new LEDs resulted in a 12.2% increase in nighttime melatonin levels and a 21.9% decrease in daytime melatonin compared to exposure to conventional LEDs.

This suggests that the innovative LEDs could promote alertness during the day and enhance relaxation and sleep quality at night.

Towards a Brighter Future with Blue Light

This groundbreaking research has the potential to revolutionize the way we use artificial lighting. By aligning our indoor lighting with our natural circadian rhythms, we could improve overall well-being, work efficiency, and sleep quality. The hope is that manufacturers of LED lamps and electronic displays will implement these findings, creating environments that nurture our natural sleep-wake cycles. As we continue to spend significant time indoors, these advancements in lighting technology could be key to maintaining our health and productivity in the digital age.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “This next generation blue light could potentially promote or hinder sleep on command” — ScienceDaily

WTF Fun Fact 13223 – The Benefits of Reading Physical Books

Reading is generally good for you, no matter how you do it (unless you’re falling down a rabbithole of conspiracy theories). And your body likes reading in any form. Still, research shows that the benefits of reading physical books is higher than reading on a screen.

What are the benefits of reading physical books?

Reading physical books has numerous benefits. For starters, it helps improve concentration and information retention. Physical books require more focus and concentration than digital books, as there are fewer distractions. This helps to improve memory retention and recall, especially for complex information.

Research suggests that reading online results in lower understanding and less critical reflection. That can even be the case when parents read to children from an ebook. But that’s largely because screens don’t help them enhance elements of the story that would make a book more engaging.

Learning is just better when it’s done on paper.

Physical books are also better for eye health. Digital screens emit blue light, which has been shown to disrupt sleep patterns and cause eye strain.

A paper book in your hands also helps promote relaxation (though we’ve certainly felt the relaxation from reading an ebook!). But it turns out physical books can help to reduce stress and anxiety. The act of holding a book and turning its pages has a calming effect, and the absence of screens and digital distractions can provide a sense of peace.

Paper books also encourage us to unplug. They provide a break from technology and encourage people to unplug and disconnect from their screens. This is especially important in today’s digital world, where people are constantly bombarded with information and distractions.

Love building a library

While ebooks can be very convenient for travel or people with small apartments who don’t have places to store books, it turns out that collecting physical books can be a source of pride and personal fulfillment. A personal library of physical books is a tangible representation of one’s interests and reading history, which can be enjoyed and shared with others. It makes people feel good about their reading habits.

Believe it or not, physical books are more environmentally friendly in some ways. They do not require any batteries, electricity, or other power sources. They are also made from natural materials, such as paper, making them a more sustainable option than digital books, which rely on electronic devices that contribute to electronic waste.

The benefits of reading physical books also help independent bookstores. And purchasing physical books from independent bookstores supports local communities and small businesses, helping to preserve the cultural heritage of local neighborhoods.

For the love of books

If you love books, you’re not alone. People still prefer and buy more physical books than ebooks. And considering how many devices we all own, that’s pretty impressive.

In an era where convenience rules, there’s still something so compelling about holding a physical book that ebooks have never been able to take the lion’s share of the book market.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Reading on-screen vs reading in print: What’s the difference for learning?” — National Library of New Zealand