As we age, the lenses in our eyes start to yellow and this reduces the transmission of blue light to the retina. This can create sleep problems such as insomnia since our sleep patterns and circadian rhythms are largely regulated by blue light.
A Danish study recently examined the eyes of 970 volunteers aged between 30 and 60 years of age. The researchers found that the lower the blue light transmission into the retina due to natural yellowing of the lens, the greater the risk of the participant reporting insomnia or the use of sleeping pills.
It's also worth noting that researchers found the rates of sleep disturbances was significantly higher, not only in older research participants, but also in women, smokers and those with diabetes. This is particularly interesting since previous studies have linked smoking and diabetes with accelerated rates of lens aging.
You can't reverse the natural aging process, but you may be able to make changes to your diet to reduce your risk of diabetes. Quitting smoking might be a good idea, too.
Last updated: October 11, 2011