Teens better prepared for stress when waking up to blue light


Nearly 70% of all school kids in the U.S. are not getting the appropriate amount of sleep, getting less than eight hours a day. That sleep deprivation is impacting their mental and physical health. In fact, insufficient sleep has been associated with depression, drug use and automobile accidents, and these kids are more likely to have behavioral and cognitive problems at school.

Sleep-deprived teens may be helped by exposure to short-wavelength “blue” light. Exposure to the light could help them prepare for any stress or challenge which comes during the day.

Light affects cortisol levels

Light has been known to affect cortisol levels. Cortisol is a key hormone that increases within the hour after a person wakes up. This process is called the “cortisol awakening response,” or CAR. A high CAR response is associated with better readiness for stressful and challenging events.

Healthy cortisol impacts ability to handle stress

"The present results are the first to show that low levels of short-wavelength light enhance CAR in adolescents who were restricted from sleep," explained Mariana Figueiro, associate professor and director of the Lighting Research Center.

"Morning light exposure may help to wake up the body when it is time to be active, thus preparing individuals for any environmental stress they might experience."

Practical solution for sleep deprivation

While this doesn’t solve the core issue of lack of sleep, exposure to blue light "may be a simple yet practical way to better prepare adolescents for the challenges of the day."

Source: MedicalNewsToday, International Journal of Endocrinology


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