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The lightbulb that could end up curing your insomnia

I've written on numerous occasions how light influences our sleep.

Now it would appear NASA is taking notice and developing a solution to help its sleep deprived astronauts.

As I've shared with readers before, the wavelength of blue light acts as a stimulant by suppressing our body's melatonin production.

However, it now appears that we're learning more about how different wavelengths of light influence our sleep.

Researchers believe that red spectrum light encourages the production of melatonin and can therefore help us regulate our internal body clocks and help us fall asleep faster.

As a result, NASA wants to send new types of lightbulbs up to the International Space Station.

Made up of over a hundred individual LEDs cloaked by a diffuser, the new light fixtures will always 'look' white - but they'll have three separate modes, each with a slightly different hue.

The first mode focuses on white light for basic vision, the second on blue light to encourage alertness and the third on red light to encourage sleep at the end of the shift.

These particular lights are more about regulating the sleep-wake cycle so they're going to be of most value to those with off-kilter body clocks (such as shift workers or those who travel across time zones).

Research is still ongoing - but hopefully we'll see more studies in the near future that look at the influence of red light and whether it really can improve our sleep.

Source: Scientific American

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Last updated: January 30, 2013

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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