Blocking Blue Light May Reduce Insomnia

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The use of light-emitting electronic devices before bedtime may contribute to or exacerbate sleep problems.
The use of light-emitting electronic devices before bedtime may contribute to or exacerbate sleep problems.

HealthDay News — For individuals with insomnia symptoms, wearing amber vs clear lenses for 2 hours before bedtime is associated with improved sleep, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

Ari Schechter, PhD, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues examined whether wearing amber-tinted blue-light-blocking lenses before bedtime would improve sleep among individuals with insomnia. In a randomized crossover trial, 14 individuals wore blue-light-blocking amber lenses or clear placebo lenses in lightweight wraparound frames for 2 hours immediately before bedtime for 7 consecutive nights.

The researchers found that at the end of the intervention period there were improvements in the Pittsburgh Insomnia Rating Scale total scores and Quality of Life, Distress, and Sleep Parameter subscales in the amber vs clear lenses condition. There was a significant delay in reported wake-up time in the amber vs clear lenses condition, and mean subjective total sleep time (TST), overall quality, and soundness of sleep were significantly higher over the 7-day intervention period. Also in the amber vs clear lenses condition, actigraphic measures of TST only were significantly higher.

"These findings have health relevance given the broad use of light-emitting devices before bedtime and prevalence of insomnia," the authors write. "Amber lenses represent a safe, affordable, and easily implemented therapeutic intervention for insomnia symptoms."

Reference

Shechter A, Kim EW, St-Onge MP, Westwood AJ. Blocking nocturnal blue light for insomnia: A randomized controlled trial. J Psychiatr Res. 2o18;96:196-202.



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