Scientists at John Carroll University, working in its Lighting Innovations Institute, have developed an affordable accessory that appears to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Their discovery also has also been shown to improve sleep patterns among people who have difficulty falling asleep.
The John Carroll researchers have created glasses designed to block blue light, therefore altering a person’s circadian rhythm, which leads to improvement in ADHD symptoms and sleep disorders.
The individual puts on the glasses a couple of hours ahead of bedtime, advancing the circadian rhythm. The special glasses block the blue rays that cause a delay in the start of the flow of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Normally, melatonin flow doesn’t begin until after the individual goes into darkness.
Studies indicate that promoting the earlier release of melatonin results in a marked decline of ADHD symptoms. Advancing the circadian rhythm has been shown to improve both objective and subjective measures of ADHD symptoms in studies at the University of Toronto. Twenty-nine adults diagnosed with ADHD participated in a three-week trial.
Major uses of the blue-blocking glasses include: providing better sleep, avoiding postpartum depression, preventing Seasonal Affective Disorder and reducing the risk of cancer.
An alternative to the glasses has also been developed in the form of night lights and light bulbs with coatings that block the blue light. Instead of wearing the glasses, an individual may simply turn off ordinary lights and, instead, turn on the ones with filters that remove the blue rays. The night light is a convenient “plug-in” device. The cost of the items ranges from approximately $5 for light bulbs and night lights to $40-$60 for glasses.
Dr. Richard Hansler is the lead John Carroll University researcher in the development and uses for the blue-blocking glasses. He is one of the principle owners of a company that makes these new products available via the web site: www.lowbluelights.com.