Effects of blue- and red-enriched light on attention and sleep in typically developing adolescents

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Petra Studer, Judith M. Brucker, Cornelia Haag, Jessica Van Doren, Gunther H. Moll, Hartmut Heinrich, Oliver Kratz
Physiology & Behavior
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Differential effects of blue- and red-enriched light on attention and sleep have been primarily described in adults. In our cross-over study in typically developing adolescents (11–17 years old), we found attention enhancing effects of blue- compared to red-enriched light in the morning (high intensity of ca. 1000 lx, short duration: <1 h) in two of three attention tasks: e.g. better performance in math tests and reduced reaction time variability in a computerized attention test. In our pilot study, actigraphy measures of sleep indicated slight benefits for red- compared to blue-enriched light in the evening: tendencies toward a lower number of phases with movement activity after sleep onset in the complete sample and shorter sleep onset latency in a subgroup with later evening exposure times. These findings point to the relevance of light concepts regarding attention and sleep in typically developing adolescents. Such concepts should be developed and tested further in attention demanding contexts (at school) and for therapeutic purposes in adolescents with impaired attention or impaired circadian rhythms.


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