Benefits of New Lights Planned for Space Station are Now Available on Earth

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Lights like those that will help astronauts sleep better are now available for everyone with sleeping problems at

The media has been full of stories about the new lights being developed by Boeing under contract with NASA to deliver new lights for the Space Station by 2016. The lights will be able to change color to mostly blue to keep astronauts awake, to mostly red to promote sleep. It has been very hard for the occupants of the space station to sleep well. About half of them have resorted to the use of sleeping pills. Even so, they usually only sleep about six hours of the 8.5 hours scheduled for them to sleep. By controlling the color of the light, it is hoped the problem of poor sleep will be solved.

Studies at the University of Surrey in the UK and at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia found in 2001 that there are sensors in the eye that don’t contribute to vision, but rather, control the internal or circadian clock. These sensors respond most strongly to blue light. The clock, in turn, controls the pineal gland that produces the sleep hormone, melatonin. Exposing the eyes to light first thing in the morning resets the clock. Twelve hours later, the clock stimulates the pineal gland to begin making melatonin. It starts slowly, builds to a maximum and drops back to near zero by wake up time. This is what happens if the eyes are in darkness at the time when the melatonin starts flowing. If the eyes are exposed to light, especially blue light, it prevents the pineal gland from making melatonin.

In 2005, scientists at John Carroll University developed light bulbs that eliminate blue light and eyeglasses that block blue light. They make them available on the internet at owned by a spin-off company, Photonic Developments LLC. A study at the University of Toronto (1) found that subjects wearing goggles that block blue light allows them to make melatonin while exposed to bright light just as they had on a previous night in darkness.

Thousands of people have purchased the light bulbs and glasses with the guarantee of money back if they don’t help them sleep better. About 90% find thy help. . According to Dr. Richard Hansler, author of “Great Sleep! Reduced Cancer1” and “Heroes of Cancer Prevention Research”, “ By putting on the glasses a few hours before bedtime, allows the body to maximize the production of melatonin to the 11 or 12 hours humans enjoyed before the invention of electric lights. This has many health benefits in addition to improved sleep. They may include reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer.” For questions please contact Dr. Hansler (part owner of Photonic Developments LLC) at 216 397 1657 or email to rhansler(at)jcu(dot)edu.

(1)    J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 May;90(5):2755-61. Epub 2005 Feb 15.
Blocking low-wavelength light prevents nocturnal melatonin suppression with no adverse effect on performance during simulated shift work.
Kayumov L, Casper RF, Hawa RJ, Perelman B, Chung SA, Sokalsky S, Shapiro CM.

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Richard Hansler
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