Is Blue Light The New Caffeine?

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bluelightPhoto: Courtesy Of Red Raspberry Boutique.
Ask most people about their favorite drug of choice and you'll hear the same answer: coffee. It gets us up and at 'em every morning, and keeps our minds (relatively) sharp through that excruciating late-afternoon stretch. For many of us, it is the difference between functional and narcoleptic. In sum: We love our coffee.

But, what if there was an alternative that provided all the cognitive benefits without the jitters and that expensive Starbucks habit? What if it was as easy as picking up a lightbulb?

For years, scientists have known that blue light inhibits the secretion of melatonin, which calms our minds and dulls cognitive function. For this reason, experts recommend turning off the computer before bed, since the illumination from our LED-backlit devices prevents our brains from shutting down properly. But, according to a wide variety of studies, that same property makes a cerulean glow — whether from sunlight or artificial sources — effective at boosting brain performance during the day.

The list of theoretical benefits is a long one. In study after study, blue light has been proven to increase alertness, learning ability, and working memory. The most promising evidence, though, comes from a recent study that compared its effects to that of caffeine. Subjects exposed to blue light had even more improvement in cognitive response and attention spans than those who were given caffeine.

The great part is, if you want to incorporate a bit more blue in your life, it's as easy as buying an LED lamp, downloading an app, or even just stepping outside. So, what do you think? Will you embrace the blue or stick with your coffee? Sound off in the comments below. (Mark's Daily Apple)