According to a new study, LED streetlights are influencing sleep patterns because they emit blue light, a type of light that causes the brain to produce less melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone. Authorities are not yet convinced that this negative aspect surpasses the benefits of using LED lighting.
LED light is currently benefiting from a rising popularity, local authorities from across the country praising it for both efficiency and durability, LED streetlights being praised by city councils who are saving a lot of money while using them.
LED lights use emit an artificial white light that, on the wavelength spectrum appears as blue. It’s the same type of light that is also emitted by electronic devices like laptops and smartphones. This particular type of blue wavelength also occurs naturally during day time, our bodies, especially our brains, being wired to detect it.
Blue light tricks our brain into believing that it’s day time, the brain thus stopping the production of melatonin, the hormone that is eliminated while we sleep, and causing us to wake up, or fail to fall asleep.
According to the American Medical Association, apart from smart devices, LED streetlights are also to blame when it comes to the irregular sleep patterns of the modern man.
AMA’s main argument against LED streetlights is that they interfere with the circadian rhythm of drivers and city dwellers, disturbing their sleep patterns, thus affecting their long-term health. Unfortunately, LED street lighting is already used in more than 13 percent of the country’s surface, and the replacement process could cost a small fortune.
However, the researchers from AMA also came up with a solution that doesn’t require great costs and a lot of extra effort. Low-intensity LED bulbs are already on the market, and they produce a much softer hue that doesn’t affect humans as much.
Apart from being a danger to the health of the people that are exposed to them on a long-term, LED streetlights are also one of the leading causes of light pollution. According to a 2011 study, one LED light is about five times stronger than the traditional high-pressure sodium bulbs.
For the moment, official authorities haven’t reacted to the study so we have no way of knowing if the AMA discovery will affect the regions using LED lighting or not.
Do you live in a place that uses LED lighting? Do you think that the LED streetlights will be replaced?
Image source: Public Domain Pictures