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Blue light helps tired workers and motorists regulate their internal clocks
Date:8/1/2012

Quebec August 1, 2012 Researchers at Universit Laval have developed a blue light to help bleary eyed shift workers regulate their internal clocks and get the sleep they need when they need it.

One-third of Canada's workforce approximately 6.5 million people work shifts that keep them awake at night and require them to sleep during the day. From police officers and firefighters to manufacturers and truck drivers, many Canadians rely on an assortment of coffee, energy drinks and medication to keep themselves alert at night and sleep when the sun is shining.

But now, researchers at Universit Laval have developed a blue light that helps to better regulate people's biological clocks, ensuring they are awake while on the job and that they can sleep when their shift ends. Universit Laval, which has received funding from the Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI),has partnered with Canada Post, forestry company Abitibi-Bowater and the Quebec City police department to test the effectiveness of the blue light when it comes to managing the internal clocks of night workers.

"Shift workers and their families know the toll that this lifestyle can take on their health," says Marc Hbert, a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Universit Laval and researcher at the Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire en sant mentale de Qubec (IUSMQ)."We are using light to help people's bodies adjust in a more natural way without the need to ingest a lot of caffeine or pills."

Low level blue light simulates the sky and tricks the body into thinking it is daytime. Special glasses are later worn to block the blue light, giving the body a signal that it is nighttime. This causes the body to relax and prepare for sleep.

Professor Hbert's team recently installed machines that emit blue light in a number of police patrol cars to study the effects. Preliminary results show that Quebec City police o
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Contact: Ryan Saxby Hill
ryansaxbyhill@innovation.ca
613-294-6247
Canada Foundation for Innovation
Source:Eurekalert  

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