New York: Early morning blue light exposure therapy can aid the healing process of people impact by mild traumatic brain injury, according to new research. “Daily exposure to blue wavelength light each morning helps to re-entrain the circadian rhythm so that people get better, more regular sleep. This is likely true for everybody, but we recently demonstrated it in people recovering from mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI,” said study lead author William D Scott Killgore from University of Arizona in the US.
“That improvement in sleep was translated into improvements in cognitive function, reduced daytime sleepiness and actual brain repair,” Killgore added. Headaches, attention problems and mental fogginess are commonly reported after head injuries and can persist for weeks or months for some people.
Recent research has shown that the brain repairs itself during sleep, so the resarch team sought to determine if improved sleep led to a faster recovery. In a randomised clinical trial, adults with mTBI used a cube-like device that shines bright blue light (with a peak wavelength of 469 nm) at participants from their desk or tables for 30 minutes early each morning for six weeks.
“Blue light suppresses brain production of a chemical called melatonin,” Killgore said. “You don’t want melatonin in the morning because it makes you drowsy and prepares the brain to sleep. When you are exposed to blue light in the morning, it shifts your brain’s biological clock so that in the evening, your melatonin will kick in earlier and help you to fall asleep and stay asleep,” Killgore added.