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A small study of 16 volunteers found that exposure to short-wavelength light, or blue light, perked them up immediately.
“Light exposure to this system, particularly blue light, directly reduces sleepiness,” said Steven Lockley of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Subjects exposed to blue light were able to sustain a high level of alertness during the night when people usually feel most sleepy, and these results suggest that light may be a powerful countermeasure for the negative effects of fatigue for people who work at night.”
The study, sponsored by National Space Biomedical Research Institute, is detailed in the Feb. 1 issue of the journal Sleep.
“The effects lasted as long as the blue light was on, which was 6.5 hours,” Lockley told LiveScience. “I expect it would last at least for a few hours more if we extended the light exposure for longer although not ad infinitum. We hope to do studies with longer exposures shortly.”