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Blue Light Dangers

June 11, 2014

Blue light, abundant in artificial lighting, LED’s, and computer screens, may delay sleep and increase nighttime hunger.



Unhelpful night lights. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Blue light, which is abundant in TV and computer screens, may increase nighttime hunger and delay sleep. This according to Ivy Cheung, a doctoral candidate in Northwestern University’s Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program. Her team exposed people to light with enriched blue wavelengths at dinnertime. After just one three-hour session, these subjects felt hungrier than people who ate dinners with the same calorie count under ordinary dim light. And their bloodwork reflected that.

IVY CHEUNG (Northwestern University):

So there were higher insulin levels, and also higher glucose levels, meaning that the body isn’t able, as readily, to process the glucose that comes about from eating the evening meal.

They also found it harder to sleep. It’s not clear what the mechanism might be, but Cheung notes that blue light-filtering glasses and computer software may help prevent these effects. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.