Light level and duration of exposure determine the impact of self-luminous tablets on melatonin suppression.

Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 21 Union Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA.
Applied ergonomics (Impact Factor: 1.11). 07/2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2012.07.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Exposure to light from self-luminous displays may be linked to increased risk for sleep disorders because these devices emit optical radiation at short wavelengths, close to the peak sensitivity of melatonin suppression. Thirteen participants experienced three experimental conditions in a within-subjects design to investigate the impact of self-luminous tablet displays on nocturnal melatonin suppression: 1) tablets-only set to the highest brightness, 2) tablets viewed through clear-lens goggles equipped with blue light-emitting diodes that provided 40 lux of 470-nm light at the cornea, and 3) tablets viewed through orange-tinted glasses (dark control; optical radiation <525 nm ≈ 0). Melatonin suppressions after 1-h and 2-h exposures to tablets viewed with the blue light were significantly greater than zero. Suppression levels after 1-h exposure to the tablets-only were not statistically different than zero; however, this difference reached significance after 2 h. Based on these results, display manufacturers can determine how their products will affect melatonin levels and use model predictions to tune the spectral power distribution of self-luminous devices to increase or to decrease stimulation to the circadian system.

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    ABSTRACT: Electronic media use is prevalent among adolescent populations, as is the frequency of sleeplessness. One mechanism proposed for technology affecting adolescents' sleep is the alerting effects from bright screens. Two explanations are provided. First, screens emit significant amounts of short-wavelength light (i.e. blue), which produces acute alertness and alters sleep timing. Second, later chronotypes are hypothesised to be hypersensitive to evening light. This study analysed the pre-sleep alertness (GO/NOGO task speed, accuracy; subjective sleepiness), sleep (sleep diary, polysomnography), and morning functioning of 16 healthy adolescents (M = 17.4 ± 1.9 yrs, 56% f) who used a bright tablet screen (80 lux), dim screen (1 lux) and a filtered short-wavelength screen (f.lux; 50 lux) for 1 hr before their usual bedtime in a within-subjects protocol. Chronotype was analysed as a continuous between-subjects factor; however, no significant interactions occurred. Significant effects occurred between bright and dim screens for GO/NOGO speed and accuracy. However, the magnitude of these differences was small (e.g. GO/NOGO speed = 23 ms, accuracy = 13%), suggesting minimal clinical significance. No significant effects were found for sleep onset latency, slow-rolling eye movements, or the number of SWS and REM minutes in the first two sleep cycles. Future independent studies are needed to test short (1 hr) vs longer (>2 hrs) screen usage to provide evidence for safe-to-harmful levels of screenlight exposure before adolescents' usual bedtime.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common psychiatric disorder of childhood, with average worldwide prevalence of 5.3%, varying by region. METHODS: We assessed the relationship between the prevalence of ADHD and solar intensity (SI) (kilowatt hours/square meters/day) on the basis of multinational and cross-state studies. Prevalence data for the U.S. were based on self-report of professional diagnoses; prevalence data for the other countries were based on diagnostic assessment. The SI data were obtained from national institutes. RESULTS: In three datasets (across 49 U.S. states for 2003 and 2007, and across 9 non-U.S. countries) a relationship between SI and the prevalence of ADHD was found, explaining 34%-57% of the variance in ADHD prevalence, with high SI having an apparent preventative effect. Controlling for low birth weight, infant mortality, average income (socioeconomic status), latitude, and other relevant factors did not change these findings. Furthermore, these findings were specific to ADHD, not found for the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders or major depressive disorder. CONCLUSIONS: In this study we found a lower prevalence of ADHD in areas with high SI for both U.S. and non-U.S. data. This association has not been reported before in the literature. The preventative effect of high SI might be related to an improvement of circadian clock disturbances, which have recently been associated with ADHD. These findings likely apply to a substantial subgroup of ADHD patients and have major implications in our understanding of the etiology and possibly prevention of ADHD by medical professionals, schools, parents, and manufacturers of mobile devices.
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose Adolescents prefer sleep and wake times that are considerably delayed compared with younger children or adults. Concomitantly, multimedia use in the evening is prevalent among teenagers and involves light exposure, particularly in the blue-wavelength range to which the biological clock and its associated arousal promotion system is the most sensitive. We investigated whether the use of blue light–blocking glasses (BB) during the evening, while sitting in front of a light-emitting diode (LED) computer screen, favors sleep initiating mechanisms at the subjective, cognitive, and physiological level. Methods The ambulatory part of the study comprised 2 weeks during which the sleep–wake cycle, evening light exposure, and multimedia screen use were monitored in thirteen 15- to 17-year-old healthy male volunteers. BB or clear lenses as control glasses were worn in a counterbalanced crossover design for 1 week each, during the evening hours while using LED screens. Afterward, participants entered the laboratory and underwent an evening blue light–enriched LED screen exposure during which they wore the same glasses as during the preceding week. Salivary melatonin, subjective sleepiness, and vigilant attention were regularly assayed, and subsequent sleep was recorded by polysomnography. Results Compared with clear lenses, BB significantly attenuated LED-induced melatonin suppression in the evening and decreased vigilant attention and subjective alertness before bedtime. Visually scored sleep stages and behavioral measures collected the morning after were not modified. Conclusions BB glasses may be useful in adolescents as a countermeasure for alerting effects induced by light exposure through LED screens and therefore potentially impede the negative effects modern lighting imposes on circadian physiology in the evening.
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May 19, 2014