Melatonin is a master control hormone that sends information to the whole body about the time of the day and also the time of year. In dim light or in darkness the melatonin flows for about nine hours during the night reaching a maximum concentration in the blood about 3 A.M. Exposing the eyes to light prevents the flow. The timing of the birth of the young of most animals including humans is regulated to some extent by the duration of the flow of melatonin. Before electric lights the duration of the flow of melatonin gradually increased during the autumn as the nights grew longer. In most animals this signaled the period of greatest fertility so that young, conceived then, would be born in the spring. For humans, electric lights spelled the end of the natural effect of the length of day on fertility.
It was recently discovered that the flow of the hormone melatonin is controlled by the blue component in white light. This means we can use the yellow and red light without interfering with the natural flow of melatonin. Wearing glasses that block the blue light creates an effect just like actual darkness as far as the production of melatonin is concerned. By putting on the glasses in the evening for a short time before bedtime can extend the flow by a short time. Putting them on a few minutes earlier each night will simulate the longer nights of autumn. While not yet established by clinical trials it is logical that this may help increase fertility. Getting back to the way nature intended isnít going to do any harm and may help. The greatest number of births occurs in July. This suggests that November is the month of highest fertility.
John Carroll University physicists have developed the glasses that block the light that causes suppression of melatonin. They make them available on a web site www.sleeplamps.com. They also provide light bulbs and filters for TV and computer screens that block the blue light. In addition to helping increase fertility the products may also be used to improve sleep. Putting on glasses a couple of hours before bedtime allows melatonin to be present at bedtime. This helps people fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. Sleeping better may also help increase fertility.
In addition to wearing glasses in the evening, studies have shown that exposing the eyes to bright light at a regular time in the morning, e.g. by spending a short time outside, helps end the melatonin flow. This makes the effect of the glasses more pronounced.
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