Sleep improving again

At last I seem to be out of the patch of mediocre sleep I was having for a while there.  We’re still not sure, but it looks like it was caused by the high-dose multivitamins my specialist has me on, probably the B vitamins in particular.  I’ve halved the dose and am taking them in the mornings only, plus using coloured light bulbs and herbal sleep aids in the evenings again, and my sleep is back to being bang on time and good quality.  I was up and quilting at 7.30 am yesterday!

I’ll probably continue the herbal sleep aids for a few months, just to get the message through, as advised by a local herbalist.  That said, I haven’t taken any supplements at all for the last few days, and I’m still sleeping well.  The current dose is either one Valerian Formula with one capsule of valerian alone, or three capsules total of any combination of valerian and passiflora (my next bottle of Valerian Formula is late in the post).  This is slightly higher than what I was taking before, but the herbalist said it’s still absolutely fine to use for a few months.  Dr Myhill recommends anything up to four 400mg capsules of valerian where I’m taking two, for context.

Using the coloured light bulbs every night is something that didn’t seem necessary when I was having very good sleep for five months, but does make a difference now, although I don’t know if that was just while I was on those multivitamins.  My coloured-light-hating partner is away on holiday for twelve days, so I’ve taken the opportunity to spend this time under low coloured light in the evenings.  I’m still fiddling with how I set up the coloured lightso that it is as pleasant as possible, gives the right amount of light for pottering about my bedroom, and doesn’t allow (much) blue light to creep in around the edges of my orange glasses.  Previously I had the salt lamp by my bed with a pink bulb in it, which produced a sort of salmon-coloured light.

I still haven’t got around to constructing a DIY spectroscope with a DVD and cereal box, as advised by my kind readers here, but I’ve taken the tip to put a DVD by the light source to see if any blue reflects off it.  As expected, the salt lamp produces a little blue light with an ordinary bulb inside it, but no blue light with a coloured bulb.  The yellow bulbs in the hall which I use to light the bathroom are fine too.

I wasn’t mad on the salt lamp by the bed, it was rather dim and too pinkish for my taste.  So I’ve bought a small opal glass pebble lamp and put a 15W pygmy amber bulb inside for by the bed, and put the salt lamp back in the bookcase opposite the bed with its original 15W uncoloured bulb.  The salt lamp produces a pleasant peachy-golden glow which I actually put on about an hour before the orange glasses go on, and I am careful to make sure that I don’t get so close to it that the stray light will get around the edges of my orange glasses.  It looks much nicer with an uncoloured bulb in there, as you can see the variations in colour produced by the salt which was most of the point of getting that lamp in the first place, whereas the coloured bulbs masked that.  The pebble lamp by the bed is perfectly safe even without the orange glasses, and provides substantially more light than the salt lamp did when it had the pink bulb in.  It’s enough that I can pootle around the bedroom and just about see the laptop keyboard well enough to type, but dim enough to be thoroughly relaxing.  I never really used to like those amber bulbs, I always preferred the yellow ones, but it seems that my tastes have changed as I now find it quite a pleasant colour.  We’ll see what my partner thinks when he gets home.

I’m not bothering to put in alternative bulbs in the living room, I’m not in there much in the late evening and I can just turn the overhead lights down low with a dimmer switch.  I’m hoping to move flat this year and I’ll set up a better arrangement then.  I’ve got my eye on those LED bulbs which offer sixteen colours and have a remote control, but right now they’re not very bright, mostly don’t have a warm white, and very expensive, so I’ll wait until I’m settled in the new flat and hopefully by then LED lighting will have improved.

I’m also not bothering to put the orange filter back on the laptop screen, as the orange specs and amber lighting seem to be enough.  I think that the amount of stray blue light that gets to my eyes round the edges of the glasses from the laptop screen is too minimal for me to need to worry about it, especially since I’m generally watching films on the laptop by that point in the evening and it’s thus a good six feet away from me.

Siestas continue to be odd.  I’m still not sure whether I really need them or not.  I’m taking them perhaps half the time, when I really can’t keep my eyes open in the afternoons.  It’s easier when I know I’ll be using coloured bulbs that evening, otherwise I’ve had a few nights where it was difficult to get to sleep the night after a siesta, which by now is something unusual for me.  Occasionally the siesta ends up rather longer than planned, say four hours, which again seems to be OK if I use coloured lights that evening and could go either way if I don’t.

As I don’t think I’ve got around to discussing yet, I alter the time when I begin the darkness therapy by twenty minutes each month in a rough reflection of seasonal variation.  For April, the darkness therapy starts at 9.40.  It seems to be suiting me.  The latest it will start is 10.20 in June, and I’m curious to see whether that will be too short a length of time for the darkness therapy, or whether I’ll just adjust.  Certainly this method makes me feel more in synch with when it gets dark outside, even if I’m not following the local sunset hours that closely (I live too far north for that to be wise).

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20 Comments on “Sleep improving again”

  1. Robert Says:

    It’s great that your sleep is still improving. Mine got worse for a few days, due to waking up in the middle of the night, and even getting up later than I had planned(7:20 AM instead of 6:30 AM). But as of last night, my sleep has improved with no awakenings(woke up at 6:00 AM). Like you I use the Integrated Approach(darkness therapy at night, light therapy in the morning), but it seems the darkness therapy is more important. Besides using light therapy in the morning, I’m trying to think of other ways to get my body to know it is time to wake up, and to wake up feeling refreshed.

    I haven’t felt as refreshed as of late in the morning(possibly due to overexercise, but I’ve stopped exercising for a few days now), and have gone back to using my alarm clock to wake me, which I didn’t use the first few weeks of the Integrated Approach. I use no herbal sleep aids at night beyond rubbing a drop of pure lavender oil under my nose. In fact, my sleep may have gotten worse since I started using the lavender a few days ago; last night I didn’t use any lavender and slept better than when I used it. Lavender is supposed to be relaxing, but for all we know beyond a certain level it may be stimulating or it doesn’t work for everyone.

    I use a light box when I use the PC in the morning, but I don’t have a dawn simulator, and never drink coffee or caffeinated beverages. Lately, I’ve been exploring the connection between better sleep and fresh air and air ionizers; it seems there may be a connection between fresh air or ionized air and sleep disorders, or at least fresh air can help a person wake up feeling refreshed. It also seems to me that eating fresh fruits and vegetables with dinner helps ensure you wake up feeling refreshed. Eating a large, rich meal(especially meat, a lot of fat, protein or processed food) for dinner puts a lot of stress on the digestive system, interfering with sleep and making it less likely you will wake up feeling refreshed.

    Any other ideas to ensure my body gets the message its time to wake up early in the morning?

    And do you still use white noise to help you sleep?


    • I haven’t used white noise in years, I’m living somewhere quiet now and the tinnitus has calmed down. It’s useful if external or internal noise is bothering you, though.

      Lavender is indeed meant to be sedating in small quantities and stimulating in larger quantities. Putting a drop of neat lavender under your nose counts as large quantities, you may be surprised to learn. Try putting a single drop on a tissue and putting that by the bed, though right now you sound as if you could do with a break from it. There are also other essential oils that can help sleepiness. I find neroli to be quite powerful, though as it’s expensive I’d suggest buying it diluted in oil (usually almond or jojoba) and making sure that you’re buying genuine neroli. It’s a fairly flowery scent, it’s orange blossom, so sniff if first if you can, not everyone likes it.

      I confess to being suspicious of air ionisers, they sound like a scam to me. I did feel better when I was staying at a small seaside town for a week in the autumn, but that could have been for a variety of reasons. I suspect the sea air did help somewhat, though, along with the lower levels of pollution.

      Interesting point about food. I’m vegan and eat a fairly healthy diet, so I didn’t have meat, processed food or what have you to compare with. I do know that it’s important not to eat too late or eat too heavily, I’ve got a page on eating well for sleep on this site. Although on the other hand, you want to avoid hypoglycaemia at night too.

  2. Robert Says:

    I’ve long been suspicious of ionizers as well. I doubt I’ll get one, but I’m always trying to improve ventilation in my bedroom, especially during the winter, spring and autumn when I have to keep my window closed while I sleep. I’m an ovo-vegetarian; almost a vegan except for eggs. Many vegetarians and vegans tell me they feel they need less sleep because of their diet. I feel this way too. Is this also the case with you?

    Do you still have trouble going into deep sleep during the night? I don’t think I have this problem luckily, but I probably should be experiencing more of this, and earlier in the night, based on how I occasionally don’t feel very well-rested upon awakening. I no longer apply the lavender oil to the area just beneath my nose(which seems to have been more stimulating than relaxing) to relax me, I just inhale a little bit from the bottle before sleeping. I think it helps a little, but not as much as the orange glasses.

    I have also been exploring the connection between sleep and magnesium. It seems most people may be slightly deficient in magnesium, but even more importantly, the average person’s calcium to magnesium ratio(in the U.S) is close to 6 to 1, whereas research indicates it should be 2 to 1 or even 1 to 1. Lack of magnesium may play a role in insomnia since it helps muscles relax. Lack of sleep may also deplete magnesium, setting off a vicious cycle – http://web.mit.edu/london/www/magnesium.html Lack of calcium may also cause the same problem.

    People who eat a lot of green, leafy vegetables, as well as beans and whole grains are likely getting enough magnesium according to research. Good luck overcoming your medical issues and sleep problems!


  3. I haven’t a clue about whether my diet has affected my sleep, I think the ME overrides all that.

    I also don’t know about my deep sleep during the night, as I haven’t had another sleep study. Apparently it’s usual for ME patients not to get anywhere near enough deep sleep no matter what they do. I’ve noticed that I sleep more solidly when I use darkness therapy, and suspect that I get more deep sleep. I certainly wake up less during the night. Presumably when I do wake up all the time, it impairs my ability to get deep sleep, so I’d guess that it’s helping in that way at least.

    I look into nutritional supplements occasionally but always find it very hard to tell if they’re helping, plus it’s hard to work out correct dosage. At the moment I’m under the care of a nutritionist and associated dietician, which frankly hasn’t helped much so far, but I’m not on the full regime yet.

    My partner got home from being stranded abroad on Wednesday night, and my sleep hasn’t been too good for the last few nights. This could be because a) I stopped using the coloured bulbs, and there was quite a bit of white light in the room when he was settling his suitcase and so forth; b) I stayed up past my usual bedtime and so it could be a sleep gate issue; c) I was excited to have him home at last! And last night there was another medical issue interfering with sleep. Anyway, I’ll see how it goes over the next few weeks. I’ve finally given up on Health in a Jiffy sending the Valerian Formula I ordered three weeks ago (they look like they’ve vanished) and ordered from another company, so I can go back to using it instead of taking one capsule plain valerian and one capsule passiflora/chamomile.

  4. Robert Says:

    I’m glad your partner made is back safe, even if it interfered with your sleep. I hope the nutritionist and dietitian can help you sleep even better.

    It’s been almost a month now since I’ve been using the orange glasses at night, and my sleep has improved so much I’ll continue to use them every night.

    One thing I have trouble understanding is our body’s response to light and especially sunlight, when it comes to the eyes. Now that we know that blue light is stimulating since it suppresses melatonin production when our eyes are exposed to blue light, what about violet and ultraviolet light? Does ultraviolet light also suppress melatonin? Does ultraviolet light stimulate in other ways(besides vitamin D production in the skin), and is stronger light beyond 10,000 lux(the setting of most light-boxes) better for resetting our circadian rhythms?

    The noon day sun in much of the world is about 120,000 lux, which can hurt or damage the eyes. I often stand in the bright sun in the early and late morning(I never look at it, but I face it with my head down), even after using my light box early in the morning, since I think it may help suppress melatonin even more. But is 120,000 lux overkill? Beyond a certain point there’s got to be diminishing returns, and I realize sunlight can be dangerous in the middle of the day. I’m also wondering if wearing regular sunglasses(not night blue blockers for wearing indoors) during the day, especially ones that block most or all blue-light, can possibly interfere with our circadian rhythms.

    What does your research on this indicate? As much as I need that light to stimulate me and keep my circadian rhythm regular, I also want to protect my eyes from UV radiation.


  5. I can’t remember much from my research on daylight, but people generally seem to recommend going outdoors for an hour for lightbox-equivalent light. Maybe past a certain point, all strengths of light have the same effect? Although general going-outdoors advice will have to be suitable for both sunny and cloudy days, of course. I’d guess that you’d be fine wearing sunglasses as long as they let a bit of blue light through, as the stronger light would compensate. Grey sunglasses, perhaps? The filter on sunglasses that blocks ultraviolet isn’t coloured, as far as I recall, the colour part is to reduce glare. If you do wear blue-blocking glasses outdoors, I imagine it would depend on whether they let in light round the sides. The amount of light you get sneaking in from a sunny day (e.g. 120,000 lux) would be far more than the amount of light you’d get sneaking in from a dimly-lit room (e.g. 50 lux), and perhaps enough to make a difference. It would seem a bit daft to spend time outdoors and still have to use a lightbox, but I suppose eye safety comes first.

    Having just done a very quick Google, it looks like 470nm and below is what will suppress melatonin. Lightbox manufacturers are concerned with getting a bandwidth that’s effective and safe, which of course is why they’re not putting in ultraviolet. I wouldn’t mind if they put in a bit, actually, I’m Vitamin D deficient due to being housebound for years. Oh well, hopefully I’ll find a nice flat with a garden soon. I’m planning to try to spend a bit of time outdoors every day when I do move, for the Vitamin D and general wellbeing if nothing else.

    I’m really glad to hear you’re having such a good effect from the darkness therapy! I’ve actually got other ME symptoms interfering with sleep at the moment, but apart from that my sleep quality seems decent. I’ll see how it settles back down. I’m still on a good overall pattern, getting up between 8 and 9 (and sometimes earlier), having a burst of energy in the morning, winding down in the evening. One of the handy side-effects of the colour distortion of the orange glasses is that it saves me from getting carried away by quilting projects until late in the evening, as I need colour judgement for most of that.

  6. Robert Says:

    Good look with treating this ME and getting enough vitamin D. As I’m sure you know, there are lamps/light boxes out there that similar to the ones used for SAD that produce UV light(http://www.amazon.com/Sperti-UV-Vitamin-Supplement-Lamp/dp/B001JGHYXA), for the purpose of producing vitamin D. Certainly, they may also be used for treating SAD and circadian rhythm disorders, but I don’t think the eyes should be exposed for more than a few seconds of that. It would probably be best to wear UV sunglasses while sitting in front of a vitamin D lamp since that is for treating the skin, not the eyes.

    As for me, I just take vitamin D(cholecalciferol) pills or stand in the sun with sunglasses during the summer. During the winter I rely exclusively on pills(I’m slightly north of 40 latitude), while during the summer I use a mixture of pills and sunlight. I obviously take small doses of the pills during the summer, and not at all during sunny days in June and July. There is growing evidence that vitamin D supplements may boost testosterone levels, improve mood and improve energy, independent of the effect of light. This is besides its well-established immune-enhancing effects – http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

    I’ve always wondered about light coming in through the sides of sunglasses while outside on a sunny day, and if enough blue light still comes through(the side) to suppress melatonin, even if the glasses are blue-blocking sunglasses(which I have but rarely wear, I usually wear the sunglasses that only partially block blue light).

    I recently discovered this neat, ultra-portable light-therapy device that you can wear over your eyes – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0014ZPAFK/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1228430939&sr=8-1
    and here is their official site – http://www.feelbrightlight.com/insomnia.html

    I do not have it, but I wonder if it works, especially in comparison to light boxes that produce white or blue light. The makers of Feel Bright Light 100 Portable claim they use blue-green light for suppressing melatonin, but the real beauty is being able to walk around and do early morning chores while getting light therapy for 30 minutes. So it doesn’t require sitting in front of a light box for 30 minutes. I find it interesting that they use green light(or green-blue rather), since I don’t think green light does suppress melatonin, at least not as well as blue. Because of the potential dangers of blue light, some are suggesting green light as an alternative.

  7. Robert Says:

    It appears that green light suppresses melatonin production as well, but maybe not as well as blue light – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1896724. This site says green is as good or better than blue – http://www.sunnexbiotech.com/blue%2520vs%2520green%2520light.html, but I don’t trust their findings since it seems tied to light box makers creating a new market niche.

    What do you think of that light therapy you wear above the eyes, even though I don’t think you’ve tried it?


    • Look at this page, scroll down until just past the yellow table. The same site also has a good page on the safety of blue light. Personally, I get sick of light therapy companies trying to make us believe that their competitors’ products are unsafe, and having tried putting a small blue LED bulb just above my eyes, I really don’t fancy shining a bright light into my eyes. Apparently it makes vision problematic and is more likely to cause headaches etc.

  8. Robert Says:

    Now that you say that, it does make the idea of shining bright light in the eyes(from a hat directly above the eyes) seem ridiculous and maybe even borderline dangerous, especially for people who may already have eye problems. But then again, I’m not really sure; is it worse than being out in sunlight without sunglasses? Or even sitting in front of a light box for 30 minutes? Or perhaps such a device would take some getting used to, and then the vision problems and/or headaches won’t be a problem? Many people can’t use light boxes properly because of the headaches, vision problems or dizziness they experience while using them. Some people even become nauseous.

    There are even some companies that may soon sell glasses that have blue LEDs on them for treating SAD or sleep disorders, instead of having to sit in front of a light box for 30 minutes – http://www.geekytraveller.com/2008/06/fight-jet-lag-with-futuristic-led-glasses/

    This may be problematic as well, but studies show that it doesn’t take a whole lot of blue light to suppress melatonin and reset our circadian clock. I really would like something more portable, maybe even something I could exercise with while undergoing morning light therapy, so these seemed like good ideas at first.

    The other night I took valerian root for the first time in weeks(while I had on the orange glasses, like I always do). I don’t think it helped much with my sleep, but I woke up feeling more groggy than usual.


    • Of course lots of people have problems with light boxes, the traditional ones use fluorescent light which is known to cause a host of medical problems for a number of people. What is less known is how people respond to LED light, and how they get on with different colours of light. Since neither are used for mainstream domestic or office lighting yet, reports tend to be anecdotal and based on using lightboxes, where there is fierce competition amongst manufacturers who will often do everything humanly possible to suggest that their competitors’ products are unsafe. What I’d really like to see would be a series of tests, using both healthy subjects and subjects with a variety of medical conditions that can affect eye and light sensitivity (e.g. migraine, ME/CFIDS, dyslexia, epilepsy, and every eye condition under the sun) which would test how they got on with various types and colours of light. It would also include different degrees of myopia, since my eye specialist tells me that this is very relevant indeed.

      What I think we need is a good strong variety of light boxes available, and sellers who could advise customers on how to find the best one for their visual comfort and other medical needs as well as practicality. As you say, the great appeal of light visors is that they permit freedom of movement. I think any light visor should be compared to a lightbox that produces the same kind of light (i.e. LED) in exactly the same colour, and I don’t know of anyone who has done that yet. Lumie stock white LED lightboxes and white LED visors, though I don’t think they’re particularly planning to loan them out for comparison and review.

      The question is whether having a dimmer light right above the eyes will be more disturbing than a brighter light 20″ away. I suspect it would, but that’s based on a few days of trying a blue LED bulb rather than a dedicated light visor. Mind you, I think the bandwidth will have been the same as the GoLite as blue LEDs naturally peak at 470nm, it’s probably just a matter of intensity and possible glare filters. It wasn’t as close to my eyes as a light visor would have been, it was about as close as it’s practical to get a desk lamp without keeping your head glued in the same position.

      Come to that, you know how light is meant to be most effective when it’s just above your eyes (evolved under the sky etc.)? I’d like to see a study on that, along with how it affects visual comfort and ability to perform tasks such as reading.

  9. Robert Says:

    I appreciate the info. I finally addressed the issue of light leaking through my window at night by getting better shades and curtains, and now my room is completely dark even at noon. I think my sleep has improved due to this. Over the past few days since putting in those shades and curtains, I think my sleep has been deeper and more refreshing, and I didn’t wake up at all in the middle of the night, plus I can’t remember my dreams(it seems I sleep better when I can’t remember my dreams since remembering them means my deep sleep phase was delayed leaving my dreaming closer to when I wake up).

    I’ve also been trying to figure out just how little blue light is necessary for suppressing melatonin. Obviously, if some people like me are so sensitive to blue light only a little can cause insomnia, wouldn’t a similarly small amount also help us wake up in the morning? Maybe a light-box is overkill for certain people? Since so few people do this and most doctors are clueless, it’s difficult to know the proper dosage most of us should take when it comes to light for treating insomnia or SAD.

    I found this study and I find the conclusion a little confusing:

    “We found a significant increase in melatonin suppression during the stimulus after a prior photic history of approximately 0.5 lux compared with approximately 200 lux, revealing that humans exhibit adaptation of circadian photoreception. Such adaptation indicates that translation of a photic stimulus into drive on the human circadian pacemaker involves more complex temporal dynamics than previously recognized. ” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15240654

    Do you understand it?

    How much lux would a small flashlight produce anyway?
    I may just try to hang a blue/white LED flashlight from my visor and shine it in my eyes than spend $200 on one of those mini light-box visors. Happy sleeping!


  10. I forgot to mention something I tried a few months ago. I have a small clip-on battery-powered LED light with a long flexible neck that I have on my computer table, so that if I’m typing when it’s dark I can illuminate the keyboard. The light is barely strong enough to see the keys, it’s not strong enough to creep around the edges of my orange glasses and cause trouble. Anyway, one day I tried clipping that light to a cap instead so that it would be above my eyes in light visor style. I didn’t find it visually comfortable myself, it was disconcerting and I think gave me a glare headache, but then I’m particularly prone to visual difficulties of that nature. If you have something similar you can play around with, experiment by all means!

    How long do you find you need in front of a lightbox in the morning, then? I’m currently on 45 min with an LED lightbox (it’d be longer with a traditional fluorescent, I’d imagine), which I do while pootling at the computer, reading e-mails and such.

    I wondered about the light intensity business myself a while back. I think it’s because at night, you are trying to make sure you don’t suppress melatonin. In the morning, you’re not just doing that, you’re actively encouraging strong serotonin production, and that needs much more light.

  11. Robert Says:

    I don’t use the light box every morning since I can get a good amount of sunlight in my garden at 7 AM now. So instead of sitting in front of the light box I’ll just weed my garden for 5 to 10 minutes without sunglasses then come back inside for breakfast. Unless of course it is cloudy. Or maybe use the light box afterward for 10 minutes.

    I’m using the light box right now as I write this because it is very cloudy and rainy outside. Since I can’t get any early morning sunlight, I’ll be using this for 30 minutes. As it gets sunnier earlier as summer approaches, I may end up using the light box less and less, but will almost certainly go back to using it religiously in autumn and especially winter when it is dark in the early morning. I keep doing research on which kind of light box is best, and still looking into one of those visors or glasses.

    Without the help of any light box I was able to get up as early as 5:30 AM, due to using the orange glasses the night before. I’m getting up later now(6:45 AM to 7:10 AM) than when I started, but that may be due to the vigorous exercise I now do which means my body needs more sleep.

    Do you find the LED light box easier on the eyes that the fluorescent? My light box is a fluorescent Naturebright “suntouch plus” that usually sells for $100 to $120. Are you still using the blue Golite? Do you find it more effective than the white light?

    I made myself a “dawn simulator” the other day since my room is so dark in the morning due to the shades and curtains I have. It’s just a small LED lamp I attached a timer to, cost very little; I find it strangely easy on my eyes when I look at the lights as I lay in bed. Luckily it is a blue-white LED(just about all white LEDs are blueish), and I think it does help me wake up a little bit, although it isn’t that bright.

    You’re right, light therapy is as much about stimulating serotonin as suppressing melatonin. I’ve read that even exercise suppresses melatonin and can boost serotonin.

    I’m wondering if eye sensitivity to either blue light or light in general is influenced by eye color. My eyes are greenish-hazel, what color are yours?

  12. Robert Says:

    Interesting articles that show that the wavelength of light is more important than lux when it comes to both treating SAD and for causing photochemical reactions/damage in museums:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19207131

    http://www.conservationphysics.org/lightmtr/luxerror.php

    It seems the dosage of blue light necessary for relieving SAD or for resetting our circadian rhythm may be less than originally thought.


    • Sorry if this reply ends up in the wrong place, WordPress seems to be crap at threading comments. I think it’s not so much that the wavelength is less important, as that the wavelength is equally important. If you take some white light at 10,000 lux, and then remove all the useless wavelengths so that you’ve just got the blue left, the light will appear dimmer but should be just as effective. However, there is presumably a minimum level of brightness required for even blue light. I think there’s a place for both blue lightboxes, for people who don’t mind the colour and want a dimmer light, and white lightboxes, for people who prefer white and don’t mind the light’s needing to be brighter/used for longer. LED lightboxes are smaller and with a shorter usage time, and as far as I can tell this is because they peak in exactly the right wavelength even when they’re using white light, whereas the fluorescent tubes used for old-fashioned lightboxes don’t have much around 470nm – and ironically, actually spike below that wavelength, which means that if anything, they should be more harmful for your eyes than LED lightboxes!


  13. My eyes are brown, and that reminds me, I was going to post about myopia and colour preference. Will do in a moment.

    You’re managing on 10 min of bright light a day? You really must be getting on top of things with the darkness therapy and so forth! I’m hoping to move this year, and I’m really looking forward to having a garden so that I can sit outside too.

    I can’t tolerate fluorescent light in any shape or form, it causes a host of problems ranging from inability to see properly to migraine to nausea. The white LED lightbox seems to be as effective as the blue LED lightbox, though I haven’t been in a position to do careful studies on each. Previously I just used the blue lightbox; now I use both probably equally. My sleep pattern seems well-trained to the point that even if I got to bed late for some reason and want a lie-in, I’ll be up at my usual time. It means I feel sleepier that day but on the other hand, don’t have to spend the next three months trying to wrestle my sleep pattern back into place, so it’s definitely preferable.

    How bright is the LED on your DIY dawn simulator? They don’t need to be that bright, and I think you end up training yourself to respond to them, as I found that once I got used to dawn simulation, even a tiny bit of dawn light coming over the top of the curtains could be enough to wake me up sometimes. Right now the lamp on my side of the bed which is hooked up to the dawn simulator is 40W equivalent (28W halogen) and I can wake up by the time it’s half-done (I have it on a fairly long sunrise setting).

  14. Jared McCurrin Says:

    Your skin also absorbes blue light which can effect melatonin production, I don’t have a reference to the study done as I read a few years back, but they had participants in a blacked out room and shined a blue laser at on there skin which caused a noticeable drop in melatonin production. Your eyes absorb much more then your skin but it could make a difference.
    Hope this helps.


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