The spectral composition of evening light and individual differences in the suppression of melatonin and delay of sleep in humans

Journal of Pineal Research (Impact Factor: 7.81). 10/2011; 53(1). DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2011.00970.x

ABSTRACT   The effect of light on circadian rhythms and sleep is mediated by a multi-component photoreceptive system of rods, cones and melanopsin-expressing intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. The intensity and spectral sensitivity characteristics of this system are to be fully determined. Whether the intensity and spectral composition of light exposure at home in the evening is such that it delays circadian rhythms and sleep also remains to be established. We monitored light exposure at home during 6–8 wk and assessed light effects on sleep and circadian rhythms in the laboratory. Twenty-two women and men (23.1 ± 4.7 yr) participated in a six-way, cross-over design using polychromatic light conditions relevant to the light exposure at home, but with reduced, intermediate or enhanced efficacy with respect to the photopic and melanopsin systems. The evening rise of melatonin, sleepiness and EEG-assessed sleep onset varied significantly (P < 0.01) across the light conditions, and these effects appeared to be largely mediated by the melanopsin, rather than the photopic system. Moreover, there were individual differences in the sensitivity to the disruptive effect of light on melatonin, which were robust against experimental manipulations (intra-class correlation = 0.44). The data show that light at home in the evening affects circadian physiology and imply that the spectral composition of artificial light can be modified to minimize this disruptive effect on sleep and circadian rhythms. These findings have implications for our understanding of the contribution of artificial light exposure to sleep and circadian rhythm disorders such as delayed sleep phase disorder.

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    • "Since the introduction of the spectral watches, researchers have begun to measure the spectral information of light exposures for their studies using this kind of device (e.g. Santhi et al., 2012a, 2012b; Thorne et al., 2009). However, the spectral sensitivity functions of the color sensors from the spectral watches may be widely different among different brands (Figueiro et al., 2013), and even among different watches within the same brand (Price et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The intrinsic circadian clock requires photoentrainment to synchronize the 24-hour solar day. Therefore, light stimulation is an important component of chronobiological research. Currently, the chronobiological research field overwhelmingly uses photopic illuminance that is based on the luminous efficiency function, V(λ), to quantify light levels. However, recent discovery of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), which are activated by self-containing melanopsin photopigment and also by inputs from rods and cones, makes light specification using a one-dimensional unit inadequate. Since the current understanding of how different photoreceptor inputs contribute to the circadian system through ipRGCs is limited, it is recommended to specify light in terms of the excitations of five photoreceptors (S-, M-, L-cones, rods and ipRGCs)(Lucas, Peirson et al., 2014). In the current study, we assessed whether the spectral outputs from a commercially available spectral watch (i.e., Actiwatch Spectrum) could be used to estimate photoreceptor excitations. Based on the color sensor spectral sensitivity functions from a previously published work, as well as from our measurements, we computed spectral outputs in the long-wavelength range (R), middle-wavelength range (G), short-wavelength range (B) and broadband range (W) under 52 CIE illuminants (25 daylight illuminants, 27 fluorescent lights). We also computed the photoreceptor excitations for each illuminant using human photoreceptor spectral sensitivity functions. Linear regression analyses indicated that the Actiwatch spectral outputs could predict photoreceptor excitations reliably, under the assumption of linear responses of the Actiwatch color sensors. In addition, R, G, B outputs could classify illuminant types (fluorescent vs. daylight illuminants) satisfactorily. However, the assessment of actual Actiwatch recording under several testing light sources showed that the spectral outputs were subject to great nonlinearity, leading to less accurate estimation of photoreceptor excitations. Based on our analyses, we recommend that each spectral watch should be calibrated to measure spectral sensitivity functions and linearization characteristics for each sensor to have an accurate estimation of photoreceptor excitations. The method we provided to estimate photoreceptor excitations from the outputs of spectral watches could be used for chronobiological studies that can tolerate an error in the range of 0.2-0.5 log units. Our method can be easily expanded to incorporate linearization functions to have more accurate estimations.
    Chronobiology International 10/2014; 32(2):In Press. DOI:10.3109/07420528.2014.966269 · 2.88 Impact Factor
    • "The results of the present study are consistent with those of previous experimental studies showing that evening light exposure reduced melatonin concentration from the onset of melatonin secretion to in-bed time and delayed sleep initiation (Burgess et al., 2001; Gooley et al., 2011; Santhi et al., 2012). In addition, the intensity of evening light exposure in home settings in the present study was lower than that of bright light intervention (3000 lux) used in the previous study "
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiologic data have demonstrated associations of sleep-onset insomnia with a variety of diseases, including depression, dementia, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Sleep initiation is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus and endogenous melatonin, both of which are influenced by environmental light. Exposure to evening light is hypothesized to cause circadian phase delay and melatonin suppression before bedtime, resulting in circadian misalignment and sleep-onset insomnia; however, whether exposure to evening light disturbs sleep initiation in home settings remains unclear. In this longitudinal analysis of 192 elderly individuals (mean age: 69.9 years), we measured evening light exposure and sleep-onset latency for 4 days using a wrist actigraph incorporating a light meter and an accelerometer. Mixed-effect linear regression analysis for repeated measurements was used to evaluate the effect of evening light exposure on subsequent sleep-onset latency. The median intensity of evening light exposure and the median sleep-onset latency were 27.3 lux (interquartile range, 17.9-43.4) and 17 min (interquartile range, 7-33), respectively. Univariate models showed significant associations between sleep-onset latency and age, gender, daytime physical activity, in-bed time, day length and average intensity of evening and nighttime light exposures. In a multivariate model, log-transformed average intensity of evening light exposure was significantly associated with log-transformed sleep-onset latency independent of the former potential confounding factors (regression coefficient, 0.133; 95% CI, 0.020-0.247; p = 0.021). Day length and nighttime light exposure were also significantly associated with log-transformed sleep-onset latency (p = 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). In conclusion, exposure to evening light in home setting prolongs subsequent sleep-onset latency in the elderly.
    Chronobiology International 10/2013; DOI:10.3109/07420528.2013.840647 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    • "Blue - enriched light and sleep 5 polychromatic light with reduced , intermediate or enhanced efficacy with respect to the photopic and melanopsin systems ( Santhi et al . , 2012 ) . Interestingly , the authors observed a significant suppression of nocturnal melatonin and delayed sleep onset following exposure to bright blue - and blue - enriched light , relative to blue - depleted light and near darkness conditions , suggesting that these effects were mediated presumably by the melanopsin rather than the photop"
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    ABSTRACT: Light in the short wavelength range (blue light: 446-483 nm) elicits direct effects on human melatonin secretion, alertness and cognitive performance via non-image-forming photoreceptors. However, the impact of blue-enriched polychromatic light on human sleep architecture and sleep electroencephalographic activity remains fairly unknown. In this study we investigated sleep structure and sleep electroencephalographic characteristics of 30 healthy young participants (16 men, 14 women; age range 20-31 years) following 2 h of evening light exposure to polychromatic light at 6500 K, 2500 K and 3000 K. Sleep structure across the first three non-rapid eye movement non-rapid eye movement - rapid eye movement sleep cycles did not differ significantly with respect to the light conditions. All-night non-rapid eye movement sleep electroencephalographic power density indicated that exposure to light at 6500 K resulted in a tendency for less frontal non-rapid eye movement electroencephalographic power density, compared to light at 2500 K and 3000 K. The dynamics of non-rapid eye movement electroencephalographic slow wave activity (2.0-4.0 Hz), a functional index of homeostatic sleep pressure, were such that slow wave activity was reduced significantly during the first sleep cycle after light at 6500 K compared to light at 2500 K and 3000 K, particularly in the frontal derivation. Our data suggest that exposure to blue-enriched polychromatic light at relatively low room light levels impacts upon homeostatic sleep regulation, as indexed by reduction in frontal slow wave activity during the first non-rapid eye movement episode.
    Journal of Sleep Research 03/2013; 22(5). DOI:10.1111/jsr.12050 · 2.95 Impact Factor
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