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Blue Goggles

A new study conducted by Swiss researchers at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel has found that special glasses that block only blue wavelengths may help us sleep better.

Our body is more sensitive to light then we might imagine. That computer screen in front of you could be the reason you had trouble sleeping last night. Excessive blue light is one of the leading contributors to poor sleep. Blue light wavelengths are produced by many of the devices that we rely on every day. Absorbing excessive amounts of these rays after sunset can make it hard to fall asleep.

Natural daylight keeps our body aligned with the environment. During the winter, when we experience less daylight, our body produces increased levels of melatonin, so we can fall asleep easier. During the summer, when we have more daylight hours to be productive, natural light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, allowing us to stay awake longer.

This dynamic pattern is part of our personal set of circadian rhythms. These rhythms aid in our sleep.

Unfortunately technology has the potential to disrupt these rhythms.

The Swiss team found that teenage boys who wore the glasses and used computers and hand-held devices before bed were much more likely to feel relaxed and tired before bedtime than when wearing clear glasses.

The glasses were effective in blocking the wavelengths that suppressed melatonin. The researchers were careful to also suggest the results may have been caused by an overall dimness. Not just the blue light.

Sleep As a Problem Solver

The old phrase ’sleep on it’ might hold more value than you expect. A new study done at Lancaster University reveals that complex problems are easier to tackle after a full night’s rest.

The study, published in the journal Memory and Cognition, proposes that sleeping on a problem may actually help our brain look at alternative solutions to the proposed obstacle.

For the study, three groups were created out of volunteers. One group was asked to solve a series of verbal insight problems immediately, one group was given time during their waking hours and the other was allowed to sleep on the problem. The questions included a range of difficulties.

For the easier questions, the study found no difference in the answers of the participants. The harder questions revealed a much higher success rate with the group who was allowed to sleep on the queries.

The studies author, Padraic Monaghan, suggests that our brains are more creative during our hours spent asleep. “Sleep has been proposed to ’spread activation’ to the solution that is initially distant from our first attempts at the problem,” claims Monaghan. “The advice stemming from this and related research is to leave a problem aside if you’re stuck and get some sleep if it’s a really difficult problem.”

Basically, your Vancouver mattress could supply the answer to your next conundrum. It’s probably worth investing in a Simmons Beautyrest to receive the full cerebral problem solving abilities.

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