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    Red Dwyer - Author

    Top o' the morning! After a day out of the office, I am forced to acknowledge the frenzy with which the country is intent on filling boxes and bags for the holiday. In the spirit of gift-giving, I have a favor to ask. Please leave a link to the store of an artisan you know (or your own!). Supporting artisans keeps the world filled with beautiful pieces and keeps the box stores from winning. Support local stores and artisans in your life and share the opportunity to do the same with others! <3 ... See MoreSee Less

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    • I have more than 5,000 contacts. I have more than 5,000 contacts. Saturday Evening Post | The M3 Blog commented on The M3 Blog: [...] mollify it, we coddle it with herbs, narcotics, more exercise or drive it to exhaustion with blue light. When we finally do put head to pillow, it is with a guilty conscience for all we did not [...] March 30, 2013 12:16
  • Helping Keep the Power On

  • And Now For Something Completely Different.

L is for Light

What is there about the sunrise which draws us from slumber? Why does the television wake you up…even when all that is on is ant races? What are you seeing you do not realize you are seeing? Light. Blue light to be completely specific. But this is no sale notification. It is a direct line to your biological clock.

We all learned in biology about the rods and cones in our eyeballs which make us see light and color, respectively. What we did not learn about was the other kind of receptors in our eyes which do not send information to our visual cortex through the optic nerve. Instead, these light receptors are connected to the hypothalamus in the center of the brain which houses our biological clocks.

Life Clock

Not to be confused with the biological fertility clock which counts years, your biological life clock keeps time in days. The life clock tells you when it is time to get up, when to go to sleep, when to eat and so on. It measures time based on light.

No pills. Go outside. Eat healthful foods.

Different frequencies of light trigger different responses for your clock. Why? Light regulates different chemicals in your body. The most studied chemicals are Vitamin D and serotonin.

Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium from food you eat and milk you drink to make bones and teeth. The most natural way to get Vitamin D is to be exposed to direct sunlight. Your body will make it naturally.

Serotonin is a brain chemical which induces sleep. Your body makes its own sleep aid everyday. So, why are you still awake?


Light suppresses the body’s production of serotonin.  In the same way light makes the body produce Vitamin D, it keeps the body from producing enough serotonin to induce sleep. This is why you will hear adults tell you they cannot possibly take a nap during the day or sleep past mid morning.

When the sun creeps through the window and pierces your eyelids (you can see through them), the light tells your brain to stop soaking in the serotonin, which has put your biological clock to sleep for the night. As the serotonin level drops, you wake up.

The human eye can detect a spectrum of light between 400 and 700 nano meters (billionths of meters). 400 nm is violet light, and 700 nm is the longest frequency of red light we can see. Blue light is 475 nm.

On sunny days, the blue light is scattered through the atmosphere (making the sky appear to be blue). You feel more energized because that sleepy serotonin production is down. On overcast days, the blue light is more scarce, and your serotonin level creeps up, making you want to snuggle into bed for a nap.


Your life clock gets confused when you infuse it with light at times it is not expecting. You are parading optical illusions in front of it. Blue light, like the sunshine which gets you up in the morning, is emanating from your television and computer screens. (Waits patiently for epiphany.)

Like turning on a Q-beam.

So, if you are trying to relax or unwind in front of a screen between 2.5 and 60 inches, your entertainment is keeping you awake and making it nearly impossible for your body to put your brain to sleep. Sleep studies prove being exposed to blue light, even while you are sleeping, causes the serotonin level to drop and disrupt sleep.

What color is your night light? That cool blue is not what is going to make it easy to go back to sleep after traipsing down the hall. It may have saved your toe from finding the door jamb, but it is not going to help you find any ZZZ. Try a warm yellow one instead.


Lots of research into light therapy proves light helps lift sagging moods for those who live near the poles (six months of darkness), depression sufferers and those with bipolar disorder. New light boxes, which are used in the morning to decrease serotonin, are available in blue light, with only one warning. Macular degeneration is a risk of serial exposure to blue light if you already have risk factors for the retinal dysfunction. The jury is still out on how much, how often and for how long.

Windows XP logo

How many blue logos do you know?

Blue light is pleasing for quite a few reasons. It is no wonder it is the most chosen background color for your standard computer programs, television programs, paint and more. Cheer and energize yourself. Let the blue light shine.


Do you use cool blue or warm yellow light in your home? Have you worked in a place with blue light (titanium, mercury or fluorescent)? What is your favorite color of light? What other blue light logos do you know?

(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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  1. Do you know I cannot sleep in a pitch dark room, literally cannot fall asleep. I use a pink light bulb at 25 watts in my reading light and it stays on all night, it is the only way I can sleep. No sound, TV off! Plantation shutters let no other light in, but without that little tiny reading light I would remain eyes wide-open all night long.

    Most of the bulbs in my house are what they call ‘soft’ light, I guess blue. This is with the exception of my bathroom, kitchen and the spotlight on my desk (halogen).

    I am very itchy under yellow light (except true sun).
    valentinelogar recently posted..Versatile BloggerMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      Yellow gives lots of people the creeps. Not surprising at all.

  2. Interesting! I didn’t know that serotonin also affected sleep–I’ve heard most about it in relation to happy moods :) I was told that popcorn (and other corn products) increase the serotonin in the brain… maybe that’s why I crave it? It doesn’t put me to sleep. I don’t think. I should pay more attention to these things.
    Laura recently posted..Fat Jealous LosersMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      The theory is…the good feelings put you in a relaxed or less stressed place so your sleep is more productive. Melatonin is what puts your lights out, but without enough serotonin, you just flip in the bed 😉

  3. I think my clock is stuck on eat and sleep. Maybe I need more sun.
    Binky recently posted..Learning to DoMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      *Giggles* Probably need to get out of the laboratory once in a while. Look at the stars…Especially, the closest one 😉

  4. I awake with the sun year round, in NW Ontario that is very, very early in the summer months, and late in the winter. White,cool daylight is my favourite colour of light- I also find-yellow light is poor quality light, somehow very annoying and hard on the eyes. “:)
    Raymond Alexander Kukkee recently posted..M is for MethodMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      Yellow gives people the creeps. Artificial yellow light is downright awful.

  5. Since I have paranoid schizophrenia and am on meds which monkey with my brains chemicals it could explain why I sleep longer and have disrupted sleep patterns.

    My curtains are blue, yet I still manage to sleep during daylight – but then sunshine is rare here in the UK!!! LoL!!!

    Love and hugs!

    prenin recently posted..Friday – my new keyboard arrives.My Profile

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      When your schedule gets muffed, it is not difficult to sleep during the day, but it makes the dreams very different. You are at a different level of relaxation…

  6. Thasnk for sharing this information. Know about it all thank goodness. Many OTHER great studies being done on Vitamin D, and my internist has me on a daily dose about 500x higher than the FDA recommended amount.

    Oh and light, blue light, the television…been an insomiac since about the age of 11. No matter that I know intellectually all the right things to do when attempting some REM it is impossible to fall asleep without the television on.
    Camping or being in a place with no boob tube to lull me to sleep is a horror show: no sleep. no way. Think I need that light to keep away the dark in those twisting frightening alleys in this mind -smile-.

    Bravo Red! L of good, solid helpful information in this post. Muah!
    Miss R recently posted..I is for InappropriateMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      There are gobs of new ones on VitD. My only concern, and I am certain s/he will be testing accordingly, is kidney stones with that level of VitD. It is the vehicle for calcium.

      I have known quite a few who could not would not in a house or with a mouse without the television. I married one. For the first six months, he would wake up in the middle of the night and turn it BACK ON. Fortunately, after smashing his fingers with the remote a few times, he quit that. *Evil Grin* For him, it was a dream killer, too. We went through a few ideas before we settled on audio book recordings, which did the trick. It was conversation engaging his brain from the television, but the books did the same thing sans light. Best of both worlds. :)

  7. I’m boring because I MUST sleep in a dark room. No lights of any kind. However, I do have a nightlight in my bathroom so I can find it in the middle of the night. Like I said . . .

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      I sleep in the pitch, in the light, either way…When I get to the point I actually sleep, it is born of exhaustion. And I defy all the statistics for time before REM, movement (as in I do not move when I sleep), duration, blood chemistry…I am a walking statistic.

    • Sounds like me.
      lorrelee1970 recently posted..AccessMy Profile

  8. I have read somewhere that adding a blue light in a sick persons room will add to the healing properties, however I don’t have the solution for this idea, though after reading your post there does seem to be a leaning towards the colour blue.

    For me personally I can sleep in a well lit room or one that is darkened by nightfall but I guess that is just me? :) lol

    I really like this posting that you have written for the letter ‘L’ but then again, your postings are always very interesting my great friend :)

    Have a very nice rest of evening Red, it is almost time for my coffee so if I have missed any of your postings I will have to catch up later today :)

    Be good now :)

    Androgoth XXx

    • Carch? Hmm… Catch I mean
      Obviously I am more tired than I figured :) lol

      Androgoth XXx

    • Red

       /  April 20, 2012

      I can drop to sleep wherever, light or not. Perhaps, if I did it regularly, that would not be the case. 😉 I hope you are having a lovely afternoon!

  9. I like blue when it is natural – sunlight, tropical oceans…
    I hate working under the flourescents (or that might just be working! ;)), but at home we have white lights, possibly with a yellow tinge…
    El Guapo recently posted..Friday Foolishness – Meta EditionMy Profile

  1. S is for Sunshine | Momma's Money Matters
  2. T is for Temperament | Momma's Money Matters
  3. R is for Red « Debbie Adams
  4. Quarters and Change | Momma's Money Matters
  5. Saturday Evening Post | The M3 Blog

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