Feeling a bit stressed? For a quick fix, switching on a blue light might help. A recent study, in which volunteers were subjected to stressful mental arithmetic tasks and then placed in either a blue-lit or white-lit relaxation room (pictured), showed that those people exposed to the blue light were able to relax on average three times faster than those exposed to white light. Blue light has also been reported to interfere with sleep, which might seem at odds with the new relaxation data, but since other wavelengths of light were not tested in this preliminary study, it is impossible to say whether red hues might turn out to be even more relaxing. Figuring out the best light wavelengths and intensities for maximal and speediest relaxation could help in both clinical settings (to calm anxious patients) as well as in our everyday lives.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.