Health benefits from light

(Shape) Bulbs in different colors deliver a rainbow of health benefits that make you feel strong, rested, and focused. Here’s how to activate their power:

Blue Light for Energy
Exposure to blue light during the day can make you feel more alert and improve reaction time, focus, and productivity, according to research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Photo receptors in the eye, which link to the areas of the brain that control alertness, are most sensitive to blue light. Therefore, when blue light hits them, the receptors set off activity in those brain regions, making you more energized,” says Shadab A. Rahman, Ph.D., the study’s author. Another perk: Daytime exposure may protect your sleep from the disruptive effects of blue light at night, a study from Uppsala University in Sweden found. “when you get a lot of bright light during the day, levels of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy, are suppressed,” study author Frida Rangtell says. “In the evening, melatonin increases sharply, and nighttime blue-light exposure has less of an impact. Boost your productivity and safeguard your sleep by placing the blue-enriched Philips Go-Lite Blu Energy Light, $80, at on your desk. And sit or stand by the windows or go outside as often as possible every day for an extra dose of bright natural light, which contains blue rays.

Red Light for Recovery
To wind down before bed use red light. “The color signals that it’s night, which may encourage the body to produce melatonin,” says Michael Breus, Ph.D., an advisory board member for Sleep Score Labs. Turn on a bulb like Lighting Science Good Night Sleep-Enhancing LED bulb, $20 at Light Science at least 30 minutes before bed. Red light can also improve your workout. Just one to five minutes of exposure to red and infrared light right before exercise boosted strength and prevented soreness, says Ernesto Leal-Junior, Ph.D., the head of the Laboratory of Phototheraphy in Sports and Exercise at Nove de Julho University in Brazil. “Certain wavelengths of red and infrared light 660 to 905 nanometers, reach skeletal muscle tissue, stimulating the mitochondria to produce more ATP, a substance that cells use as fuel,” he says. Some gyms have red-light machines. Or you can invest in your own like the LightStim for Pain $249 at LightStim

Green Light for Pain Relief
Gazing at green light can reduce chronic pain cause by fibromyalgia or migraines, for example, by up to 60 percent, according to a study in the journal Pain, and animal studies have shown that the beneficial effects can last up to nine days. “Looking at green light seems to lead to an increase in the body’s production of enkephalins, pain-killing opioid-like chemicals. And it reduces inflammation, which plays a role in many chronic pain conditions,” says researcher Mohab Ibrahim, M.D., Ph.D. At this point research indicates that exposing yourself to an hour or two every night either by using a green light bulb in a lamp or by wearing glasses fitted with tinted optical filters may decrease migraines and other types of chronic pain.