Yesterday, I mentioned the role that blue light plays in insomnia. And warned you to avoid sources — whether it’s your TV, smartphone, or even the LED lights at your local supermarket — too close to bedtime.
But sometimes, there are some exceptions to the rule.
And some new research shows that in the right amounts — and at the right times — blue light exposure may be your blood pressure’s best friend.
Benefits that rival prescription drugs
This study recently appeared in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology. In it, 14 healthy male subjects spent 30 minutes exposed to whole-body blue light, followed by exposure to “control light” the following day.
Researchers measured the effects on blood pressure, arterial stiffness, blood vessel dilation, and plasma levels of nitric oxide — the molecule responsible for maximizing blood flow, which originates in the endothelium, or lining of your blood vessels.
They found whole-body blue light slashed systolic pressure (that’s the top number) by a significant 8 mmHg — a decline that rivals what you’d achieve with blood pressure drugs.
But that’s not all. Blue light exposure influenced other heart risk markers, too — increasing arterial flexibility and boosting blood vessel relaxation. It also increased levels of essential nitric oxide.
So blue light be a no-no at bedtime. But by day, it appears to be a safe, effective, and notably drug-free preventative against heart disease.
Sunshine is the best medicine
So does this mean that sitting in front of your computer is an effective way to lower your blood pressure? Well, not exactly.
Scientists are considering the potential heart benefits of wearable sources of blue light — especially for those with particularly hard-to-control blood pressure. But the truth is you have an abundant source of blue light right outside your doorstep already.
I’m talking about the sun.
The reason artificial blue light sources are so disruptive is that they interfere with your body’s natural biological clock. Nature intended you to get blue light during the day from the sun. So when you’re soaking up blue light from electronic devices and lightbulbs well after the sun goes down, that’s a dangerous case of too much of a good thing.
But sticking to Mother Nature’s schedule and getting that blue light during the day won’t just help you sleep better at night — it’ll help your heart and circulatory system function better around the clock too.
In other words, when I say that sunshine is the best medicine, I’m not kidding. Of course, it’s not the only all-natural way to prevent and reverse high blood pressure, heart attack