Red light therapy has been shown to be beneficial for alopecia patients’ skin health, wound healing, hair growth, and pain management. Some have guaranteed it’s likewise helpful for rest, however examination and specialists recount an alternate story.
Circadian rhythms — the body’s inward clock controlling our rest and wake cycles — answer “to light as a sign to be conscious, and to dim as a sign to nod off,” as per the US Places for Infectious prevention and Counteraction.
Light is the most significant factor in influencing and training our circadian rhythms to work 24 hours a day. According to Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, “and light has many, many different wavelengths.” Therefore, we are not referring to a red light bulb when we talk about blue light or red light. It refers to the light’s wavelength.
Blue-wavelength light, which suppresses the release of the sleep hormone melatonin and is emitted by phones, televisions, and laptop screens as well as the sun, is the wavelength to which we are most sensitive.
“During the day, that is the point at which you most certainly need the blue light since you need to stifle melatonin during the day when you ought to be conscious,” Dasgupta said. ” We always tell people, “Get out and be exposed to good sunlight when you wake up.”
Research on red light and sleep
Since blue light represses the arrival of melatonin, the speculation fundamental exploration on rest and red light — the variety on the far edge of the range — is that red light could support the arrival of melatonin, Dasgupta said.
However, there are only a few studies on the relationship between red light and sleep in healthy humans. The majority of these studies have fewer than ten to thirty participants. Additionally, it appears that only a few of these studies have discovered this connection.
In a 2012 study, 20 female basketball players’ performance endurance and quality of sleep were evaluated by Chinese researchers using red light therapy. A portion of the players got 30 minutes of full-body illumination from a red-light treatment machine that seems to be a tanning bed. The group that received red light therapy showed greater improvements in sleep and serum melatonin levels than the placebo group.
According to New York City-based psychologist Joshua Tal, who specializes in sleep problems, “this is one of those situations where there’s a sleep ‘hack,’ but there’s no evidence behind it really” due to the limited amount of research. I don’t see the value.
Additionally, a distinct effect has been observed in other studies. Mariana Figueiro, director of the Mount Sinai Light and Health Research Center in New York City, stated, “We have shown that you can actually alert the brain by exposing people to that saturated red light.”
A study that took place in 2019 and was led by Figueiro investigated the possibility of reducing sleep inertia in 30 adults by using red light goggles instead of a red light mask to illuminate closed eyes during sleep and to illuminate open eyes upon waking. Rest inactivity is a circadian cycle that tweaks memory, state of mind, response time and sharpness after waking, as indicated by a recent report. During this time, some individuals exhibit impaired performance and drowsiness, and the effects of sleep inertia typically subside after 15 to 60 minutes but can last for several hours.
The authors of Figueiro’s study collected information on participants’ self-reported sleepiness, auditory performance, and cortisol levels on three Friday nights over three weeks. They discovered that delivering red light to the participants through closed eyes while they were sleeping reduced arousal upon awakening.
Figueiro also found that red light makes people more alert in two other small studies.
Figueiro, who is also a professor in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s department of population health science and policy, stated, “I would not make the claim that (red light) promotes sleep.”
Red light’s impacts on sleep
According to Figueiro, those who assert that exposure to red light improves sleep have most likely misunderstood its ability to suppress melatonin.
According to Figueiro, “the only thing that you could argue is that what it is doing is, if you give that red light in the evening prior to sleep, you’re minimizing the disruption of the circadian system, because disruption of the circadian system occurs with bright or blue light.” This is because bright or blue light causes disruption of the circadian system. To put it another way, it’s possible that any benefits come from reducing the amount of red light you are exposed to before going to sleep rather than increasing it while you are sleeping. And it’s possible that helps you sleep better.
Since red light doesn’t influence the circadian framework, the potential for red light to prompt readiness, as Figueiro tracked down in her exploration, is “in all probability influencing your cerebrum through pathways other than the natural clock,” she said. Brain alertness and the circadian system are not the same thing.
According to Figueiro, light must pass through the suprachiasmatic nuclei, the brain structure where the biological clock is located, and elicit a circadian response in order for melatonin or the circadian rhythm to be affected by it.
According to Figueiro, “what we think is happening is the (red light) is actually affecting parts of the brain associated, for example, with the visual system.” Since red light typically does not accomplish that, Or, it might have something to do with the amygdala or other parts of the brain that aren’t necessarily controlled by the biological clock.
Experts stated that red light is less disruptive than other types of light, despite the fact that it does not necessarily promote sleep.
Dasgupta stated that “what’s better than red light is no light” when it comes to sleeping. In any case, assuming you’re going to have light, for example, a night light, on under any circumstance while you rest, you should utilize ones that will be more helpful for rest, he added — which is where red light can prove to be useful.
Dasgupta advised that you seek treatment from a specialist if you suffer from chronic insomnia or any other sleep disorder that does not respond to good basic sleep hygiene.