Don't you find yourself in a gloomy or depressed mood when you are in a poorly lit room for an extended period?
Have you realized that you typically feel more cheerful and even more creative when you are surrounded by good lightning?
It's not a coincidence! Research has shown that light is one of the major factors that control the circadian rhythm: the day and night cycle.
A few decades ago, the circadian rhythm was attuned to the sun and its lighting time table. So, when it gets dark, the brain releases the hormone that encourages sleep, melatonin, and people go to sleep. Melatonin is produced in darkness, and as the evening progresses, more melatonin is produced. Eventually, you feel sleepy.
Now, when evening falls, and the sun goes down, people are still exposed to the glare from phone screens and televisions.
While there is no escaping screens entirely, the lighting from digital screens and most lighting sources contain harmful blue light.
Blue light is visible light that falls between 380 to 500nm. Every source of light contains blue light, including the sun. However, artificial sources of light have more blue light than normal.
Harmful blue light doesn't just affect the eye; they mess up the circadian rhythm as well. This is why you don't get enough sleep at night and why sleep therapists recommend turning off your phone screens and bright lights two to three hours before you sleep.
How Blue Light Affects the Mood
It's all in the hormones and the circadian rhythm.
Increased exposure to artificial light and blue light inhibits the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which causes less sleep and an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol.
Think of the last time you didn't get enough sleep. Did you feel groggy and stressed out? It's because your body isn't producing enough melatonin, and you aren't getting enough sleep at night.
When cortisol rises beyond a normal level, your body experiences a hormonal imbalance that can lead to anxiety and depression.
Three of the most common signs of depression are:
- Mental Tiredness
- Physical Fatigue
- Mood Swings
All three of these signs can be traced to harmful blue light.
Not All Blue Light Is Bad
Blue light isn't entirely bad because even the sun contains blue light! In fact, the right amount of blue light actually lifts our mood and supports a healthy circadian rhythm.
In one study, scientists actually used narrow-band blue light to treat seasonal depression. So, the trick isn't to eliminate blue light entirely; it's to find light sources that contain healthy amounts of blue light!
If you're wondering where to get lamps that retain beneficial blue light, we've got you covered with Dr. Lite's lamps!
Dr. Lite's balanced lighting is doctor-recommended to improve symptons of depression by blocking out harmful blue light while retaining beneficial blue light!