According to new research from the University of Arizona, early morning blue light exposure therapy can assist in the healing process of those who have incurred mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).
Mild traumatic brain injury, also referred to as concussion, commonly results from car accidents, falls, fights, contact sports, and exposure to shockwaves of explosive blasts. Unfortunately, few treatments for mTBI have been discovered and these injuries can result in a variety of unpleasant symptoms including:
- Mental fogginess
- Problems paying attention
- Loss of consciousness (although this doesn’t always occur)
- Sleep issues
MTBI Can Negatively Impact Quality of Sleep
Approximately 50 percent of people who have suffered a mTBI report having problems sleeping after sustaining the injury. Since recent research has demonstrated that the brain repairs itself during sleep, professors from the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Medicine – Tucson set out to determine if improving sleep could lead to a quicker recovery.
In a randomized clinical trial, adults with mTBI were given a cube-like device that shined bright blue light at them from their desk/table for 30 minutes in the early morning. The control groups in this study were exposed to bright amber light. The study found that the blue light corrected the circadian rhythm of the individual, which led to improved sleep and subsequently improved function, brain repair, and reduced daytime sleepiness.
Blue Light Causes Suppression of Melatonin Production
William D. “Scott” Killgore, a psychiatry professor at the College of Medicine – Tucson, explained the phenomenon. “Blue light suppresses brain production of a chemical called melatonin,” he said. “You don’t want melatonin in the morning because it makes you drowsy and prepares the brain to sleep. When you are exposed to blue light in the morning, it shifts your brain’s biological clock so that in the evening, your melatonin will kick in earlier and help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.”
The study also found that on average, participants fell asleep and woke up an hour earlier than before they engaged in the trial. Additionally, they were less tired during the daytime. The speed and efficiency of the brain’s ability to process showed improvement, as well as an increase in the volume in the pulvinar nucleus, an area of the brain that is responsible for visual attention. Alertness and cognition also improved from the study.
Although blue light can negatively impact an individual in certain circumstances, it can be extremely helpful in others such as when it is used in a particular manner, around a certain time. Killgore, who plans to continue studying his theory, believes that thoughtfully timed blue light exposure may prove extremely beneficial.
Henson Fuerst Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury due to the negligence or recklessness of another, it can have a profound impact on many aspects of your life. You should not have to pay for the careless mistakes of someone else.
The experienced North Carolina brain injury lawyers at Henson Fuerst can help you to navigate the legal system and help you recover financially. At Henson Fuerst we fight for what serves you best. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 919-781-1107 today!