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Old 09-14-2010, 10:25 PM
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Removing blue light at night


Hi again, sorry I have not checked back here in a long while. I've been put on to an idea that I think may help epilepsy sufferers, I suspect that it would have helped my sister. I did a brief search and I could not find anything so I'm posting it here.

My sister used to get seizures when she would get too tired. It was a combination of things, but staying up too late would very often put her over the edge. I'm a bit of an insomniac myself, as are other members of the family. And I thought it was just the way I was. However, I'm not so sure. If you can find a way to get more sleep (going to bed earlier) and better quality sleep, then that would have flow on effects with raising seizure thresholds.

So what I've learned recently is that our eyes have receptors that detect blue light (480nm approx). These sensors suppress the production of melatonin according to how much (e.g. the intensity of) blue light they receive. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep.

Historically, these sensors in our eyes would basically stop receiving blue light from before sundown to sunup. This is how humans and other mammals have functioned for basically millions of years. This worked great up until the time humans started getting incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, because even camp fires, candles and fireplaces give off very little blue light. So what would normally happen is that there would be a lag time in the evening for a few hours where we wind down and then naturally fall asleep with little effort as more melatonin is produced.

However, we now have the ability to make blue light at will in the evenings. We often stay up late on our computers at night, looking into lots of blue light with the aid of incandescents or fluorescents. Because our eyes are receiving blue light until we hit the pillow, we haven't been producing much melatonin during this time and so we find it hard to get to sleep.

The sleep that we get will be poor for the first few hours as our brains still think that we are in the evening, even though we are very fatigued. So not only do we go to bed later, we get less good sleep when we do get to bed. This means that our brains and bodies don't get the chance to rest properly.

If you want to try eliminating blue light in the evening, there are a few things you can try. Get some fluorescent bug lights for use in the evening. These have yellow glass which blocks the blue light that bugs are attracted to. Turn off the other lights in your house. Block the blue LEDs you have in your house as well with some blue tak or black tape. Probably turn your TV off early too, or you might be able to selectively dim the blues in a new TV.

For your computer, you can try f.lux or redshift. These are some really cool programs that automatically remove the blue (make the screen more red) at night.

I think it's well worth a try. So far I've done this for 3 days, and every day I've been to sleep before 11:20pm or so, and normally I'm up until 1:30am-3:00am. I am feeling more rested than I have in years. It may be part placebo, but there is also research to back it up. I feel ready to sleep when my brain hits the pillow, I don't feel like I have to "fight" the thoughts racing around inside my head. It has been a long time since I haven't had to battle in order to "switch off". I'm also feeling happier and healthier.

p.s. unfortunately I can't post links, as I have wanted to buttress the article with some evidence. Either maybe someone can enable it so I can post the original post I wrote, or you can just look at the "Melatonin" article in wikipedia, and google some other things, e.g. incandescent spectrum, or fluorescent spectrum, redshift dk, f.lux.

Last edited by bigbro; 09-14-2010 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:47 PM
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Another thing that you might try to see how much blue a given light source gives off is to hold a CD or DVD so that you can see the light source reflected in rainbow colors. This will show the spectrum of the light source - the more intense, the more light given off in that color (wavelength). If the color is absent, then there is no light given off in that wavelength.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:43 PM
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Hi bigbro -- thanks for the suggestions. Do the fluorescent bug lights flicker like other fluorescents? The flicker can be a problem as much as the color I think.
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Old 09-17-2010, 02:44 PM
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This sounds kinda like my son he's 14 now but has always got up since he was 4 and turned the television on after we have asked him to go to sleep and has now developed seizures. The doctors say his are sleep deprevation. But he goes to bed pretty early now but the tv is still on maybe that could effect him? Maybe it has caught up with him?
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Nakamova View Post:
Hi bigbro -- thanks for the suggestions. Do the fluorescent bug lights flicker like other fluorescents? The flicker can be a problem as much as the color I think.
Well, they are fluorescents, just with a tint to the glass, so yes. So you would have to solve this problem another way, either finding bug lights that are incandescent, or some people use wrap-around yellow sunglasses at night.

BTW, I forgot to mention that you can test the spectrum of the light with a DVD or CD. Turn the CD/DVD over until you can see the rainbow colors appear. That is the spectrum of whatever the light source in question is. With a regular incandescent, you notice a smooth rainbow going from red to violet. With a CFL, you notice a rainbow with some definite spikes in intensity. With the bug lights, you see a fairly smooth rainbow that goes from red to green and then stops. This is what you want to be seeing (i.e. no blue in the spectrum), whether it is done through yellow sunglasses, bug lights, or another light perhaps.

If you can't find a yellow tinted incandescent (perhaps sold as a bug light), maybe it's possible to apply a yellow coating to the glass or something.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:18 PM
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I have found a link to a site that has incandescent bug lights. I would need permission to post it though, the site won't let me.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by brent taylor View Post:
This sounds kinda like my son he's 14 now but has always got up since he was 4 and turned the television on after we have asked him to go to sleep and has now developed seizures. The doctors say his are sleep deprevation. But he goes to bed pretty early now but the tv is still on maybe that could effect him? Maybe it has caught up with him?
I don't want to speculate on that, but the TV certainly has plenty of blue light to it.

The brain and body certainly needs sleep. On a different note, insomnia is often linked with alzheimers. Beta amyloid plaques are found in the brains of alzheimers sufferers. Recent research to suggest that levels of this protein rises while we are awake and falls during the night - so maybe it is a waste product that builds up during normal functioning of the brain, and then drops as the brain's repair cycle (i.e. sleep) gets rid of it. If we aren't getting enough sleep, this could be why the beta amyloid protein builds up (and it's toxic to brain cells). After enough build up, we get Alzheimers perhaps. That is my speculation btw, but I think it's a reasonable hypothesis.

Last edited by bigbro; 09-17-2010 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:40 PM
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When sailing at night we'd use red lights to see to go below deck, read a chart, etc. You can see but it doesn't impact your night vision. In other words, you can turn off the red light and you can still see in the relative darkness. It would probably do for this purpose, too. Haven't tried reading for long periods of time using these, though. Some marine supply stores sell red flashlights or bulbs. I"ll try reading for an evening using a red flashlight and see if it can be done comfortably.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:33 PM
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Here's the link for the bug lights, for those who are interested:

http://www.buylighting.com/Bug-Lights-s/112.htm
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:33 AM
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On a


side note, those that are VERY photosensitive will see lights flickering that others don't. Sometimes it is just a heightened sensitivity, sometimes it is an indication that the light is on its way to burning out soon.........and I do know someone like this.
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:42 PM
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Interesting, Meetz.

Every time I go to Ikea I get an aura and then a seizure. I don't see any flickering. They don't seem to bother anybody else.
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:04 PM
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I'm not photosensitive, but I find IKEA overwhelming anyway! Not just the lighting but the layout, and the very dry air. Plus the meatballs.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:55 PM
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Meatballs! I'm a vegan! lol......
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:50 PM
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I don't have seizures, but my husband does, and the TV/CD/DVD player lights that stayed on (blue, red, green) overnight would always bother me, so I put dark tape over them. I swear - we both sleep better now! Ddr
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:08 PM
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This might explain why my dog wants to go to bed earlier than me. She probably does not see the same color spectrum as me. I should follow her sleep pattern.
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Old 09-22-2010, 01:46 PM
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I am currently stocking up on incandescent bulbs since they are banned soon and flourescents and halogens can cause me issues.

I also am bothered with some european car headlights that appear bluish/purple spectrum instead of white or clear light!
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