There’s been a huge surge in interest in sleep in the past 5 years. It’s hard to believe that sleep used to be considered the poor relation when it came to health, wellbeing and productivity. That’s why I often referred to sleep as the Cinderella of Good Health. Luckily for us all, Cinders is now receiving the respect she always deserved. My daily newsfeed usually features at least one research study throwing more light onto this fascinating and hugely important aspect of our lives. I’d like to share the most relevant with you from time to time. This week, it’s all about colour. To be specific
Researchers at the Universities of Manchester UK and Basel in Switzerland have found that high levels of cyan can prevent sleep. Exposure to the colour reduced melatonin levels in saliva. (Melatonin plays a key role in the sleep-wake cycle). Cyan is a colour in its own right and is also used to mix other colours, for example shades of green. And here’s the clever bit – the impact on sleepiness is not reduced even if the cyan is not visible to the human eye! It just goes to show that while sleep “should” come naturally, it’s powerfully influenced by factors that are sometimes beyond our immediate awareness. Sleep researchers have already established that the colour blue is likely to delay sleep. Many people put their lap tops into “night mode” if they work into the evening. However, this study shows that we don’t necessarily need to change the colour of our screens; we just need to remove cyan. This could be of benefit to all late night device users, including teenagers! It might be worth re-decorating your bedroom too!