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Blue light more effective than caffeine

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Blue light more effective than caffeine
A blue light spa will wake you up more than your morning coffee. Photo: TT
09:03 CET+01:00
Struggling with the dark this time of year? Put down the coffee and put on the blue light, Swedish scientists say.

Swedes drink more coffee than almost any other nationality in the world - but they have now found a better way to stay alert. Exposure to blue light can increase your cognitive function and make you more alert - more so than coffee would, new research shows.

The study was carried out at The National Winter Sport Center at the Mid Sweden University (Mittuniversitetet) and was done on a small scale, but demonstrated clear results.

"There is a possibility blue light could be used in various work-related situations which demand awakeness," said Martyn Beaven, key researcher on the project.

Researchers examined alertness or "awakeness" and cognitive functions both before and after various tests. Participants were exposed to white light along with a placebo, white light along with 240 mg caffeine, blue light and a placebo, or blue light and caffeine. 

Both blue light and caffeine improved reaction time, decision-making, and precision. But when a distraction was added to the mix, those on caffeine wavered. Those exposed to blue light alone were able to concentrate better than all other groups. 

Interestingly, the study also found that the positive effects of blue light were strongest in participants with blue eyes. 

Solveig Rundquist

Follow Solveig on Twitter.

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