Most of us wake up to the not-so-soothing sounds of an alarm first thing in the morning. And regardless of how much coffee awaits you to help ease you into daytime mode, there is a far more effective and pleasant way to get people out of bed in the morning.
Like most things in life, it’s all about proper lighting.
A research team has found that a blue-enriched LED light can effectively help people overcome morning drowsiness.
In a recent study, professors Hyeon-Jeong Suk and Kyungah Choi and their team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) found that the effects of blue-enriched morning light on our physiological responses are time dependent, and that it has positive effects on melatonin levels (the hormone that make us sleepy) and the subjective perception of alertness, mood, and visual comfort compared with warm white light. This is the same type of blue monochromatic, fully saturated light that emanates from your smart phone and keeps you awake at night, which is why it’s good in the morning, and not so much in the evening.
The physiological effects light has on us have been examined since the discovery of a third type of photoreceptor in the human retina in the early 2000s, according to KAIST, which further explains that “rods and cones regulate visual effects, while the third type, photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, regulate a large variety of biological and behavioral processes including melatonin and cortisol secretion, alertness, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).”
The KAIST team studied 15 university students and discovered that just an hour of morning exposure to this type of blue saturated light caused melatonin levels to significantly drop. That’s compared to warm white light, which most of us wake up to.
Currently, light-enabled alarms are available on the market, but unfortunately, they use regular light, not the blue enriched bright light that causes the human body to wake up. Hopefully, this new study will shed some light on the issue, and that will change.