Trouble Sleeping? Colored Glasses Cure Insomnia

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The blue rays from artificial light stop production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. The cure is wearing glasses for a few hours before bedtime that block the damaging rays. Lots of melatonin becomes available by bedtime, so sleep comes quickly.

Half of Americans claim they don’t sleep well. Artificial light from lamps, TV or computer screens in use in the hours before bedtime may be the major source of the sleep problem. It is well known that exposing the eyes to light prevents the pineal gland from making melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Nerve fibers run from the eyes to the pineal gland and control when it produces melatonin and other hormones. It has only been knows for several years that not all colors of light cause the suppression of melatonin. It is the light at the blue end of the visible spectrum that prevents melatonin production. This means that light bulbs can be made that do not eliminate melatonin secretion by coating them with filters that remove the blue rays that interfere with sleep. TV and computer screens may also be fitted with filters that remove the blue light that is creating sleep problems.

An even more practical way to avoid the sleep problem is to wear glasses for a few hours before bedtime that block the blue rays. This permits reading, watching television, or working on a computer, without creating problems in going to sleep. A clinical trial of glasses that block the blue light was carried out at the University of Toronto in which the subjects wearing the glasses continued making melatonin even though exposed to bright light. The same subjects without glasses on a different night, failed to produce melatonin when exposed to the same lights. In preliminary experiments, subjects who have worn the glasses starting a few hours before their regular bedtime report falling asleep more quickly, sleeping more soundly and feeling more rested in the morning. Some report a significant change in their sleep, the first night they try the glasses that block the blue light.

Three physicists working in the Lighting Innovations Institute at John Carroll University in Cleveland came up with the idea of blocking the blue light to help people sleep better. They developed the light bulbs and glasses that avoid the problem of melatonin suppression. They formed a spin-off company, Photonic Developments, to market these products on the internet. The website is http://www.sleeplamps.com. If you encounter any technical problems with ordering from the website, please call Dr. Hansler or send an email from the “contact ” page. The website also contains many abstracts of scientific studies regarding sleep and melatonin along with popular articles on sleep and sleep problems. We will appreciate feedback about your experience with these exciting new products.

Contact person:

Dr. Richard L. Hansler

216 397 1657

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Richard Hansler