Having trouble staying awake and focusing when you need to… and struggling to fall asleep at night? You might want to switch up your light bulbs!

Dr. Charles A. Cziesler is chief of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. And he says certain light wavelengths interfere with our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that tells our bodies when to sleep, wake, and eat. And that can trigger chronic sleep deprivation, and raise our risk for heart disease and cancer. But other light wavelengths can help keep our sleep-wake cycle on track.

So, when you want to stay awake and focused, Dr. Cziesler recommends light bulbs that emit a lot of blue-white light… which interferes with production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. For example, compact-fluorescent bulbs, or LEDs.

And for bedrooms – or when you’re winding down to sleep – try light bulbs with wavelengths at the yellow end of the spectrum. A color similar to a warm campfire. Which encourages relaxation, and triggers melatonin production. So, think incandescent bulbs, or “warm” compact-fluorescent lights.

There’s also a line of smart light bulbs called “Hue.” They can be connected to your wireless smart-home system – with preprogrammed settings for bedtime, like a sunset’s warm, reddish glow… and for daytime alertness, a cool, turquoise blue light.

If you’d like to go further, check out the website MeetHUE.com.

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