The potential influence of LED lighting on mental illness (Bauer et al., 2017)
Just finished this excellent review article, here are some highlights:
In the eye, rods and cones are for seeing stuff; ipRGCs are for non-imaging functions like circadian entrainment and how your pupils dilate in bright light. Melanopsin is the photon receptor responsible for this, it absorbs light in the blue/green range (which is also high in LED-lit stuff like smart phones and laptops).
To be more accurate, daylight has a higher ratio of blue-to-red in the morning than in the evening. Importantly, red light at night does not suppress melatonin (so I put a red light bulb in the loo in case I need to pee in the middle of the night).
Incandescent's dominant wavelength is ~574 nm and we can see best around ~555 nm. LED is 482 nm and maximal melatonin suppression happens at ~460 nm and best circadian entrainment is ~480 nm. A lot of sunlight during the day makes you more resiliant against artificial light-induced melatonin suppression at night.
"Over billions of years, life on Earth has adapted to the sun."
I love that quote: over the last hundreds-thousands, peoples all around the world have thrived on a huge variety of diets but the one constant thing was the 24-hour light/dark cycle. In other words, circadian rhythms trump food. "Sunlight is the primary signal that entrains the human circadian system." Sunlight and breakfast in the morning is a good formula to co-entrain central and peripheral circadian clocks.
It is very important to restrict screen time of infants and children. They're more sensitive to blue light and most mental illnesses (eg, those associated with circadian arrhythmia) are diagnosed by 25 years of age. The authors mention mood disorders, PTSD, anxiety, schizophrenia, drug abuse, ADHD, and eating disorders.
"Another cause for concern is the routine use of digital devices by adolescents... A meta-analysis of studies involving over 125000 children found that bedtime use of mobile devices is associated with poor sleep outcomes." No bueno!
Tl;dr: sunlight and breakfast in the morning; ditch the tech at night or at least install a blue light dimmer and get some blue blockers .
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If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.
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