Light Exposure Helps Long-Term Care Patients Housed With No Sunlight

Sunday, June 07, 2009 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: light exposure, health news, Natural News

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Imagine the nightmare of sick and disabled persons being stuck away in a building with little to no exposure to sunlight. Think this is a scene out of the Dark Ages or some horror in a third world, backwards nation? Hardly. It turns out that countless people in the U.S. are warehoused in long-term care facilities where something all humans need to thrive is denied them -- daylight.

Although it seems as if common sense would have long ago changed this horrible situation, it is only now being addressed by researchers who want to document how health can be benefited by exposure to bright blue-white light. Scientists from Case Western Reserve have started tests to see if a change from standard fluorescent lighting to a light source more like sunlight can help the health of residents confined to a long-term care facility.

Researchers from Case Western Reserve's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the School of Medicine, the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (GRECC), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center and General Electric (GE) Consumer and Industrial are working together on the project. So far, they've removed standard fluorescent lighting in a long-term care facility and installed new blue-white lamp prototypes developed by GE scientists at the company's Nela Park campus. These so-called blue lights supposedly offer sunlight-type benefits.

The scientists hypothesize that periods of blue light, like daylight, can help regulate the sleep-wake rhythm by normalizing the body's secretion of the hormone melatonin. Depending on the level of the hormone, people are sleepy or awake and alert. The researchers want to see if they can regulate the sleep-wake cycle by controlling the amount of exposure to blue-white light to spur alertness during the day and exposure to yellow-white light to boost sound sleep at night.

Changing the light source could be especially beneficial to the countless people in long-term care facilities who suffer from dementia. In fact, the research team recently completed a pilot study with five male dementia patients housed in such an institution. Blue-white bright lights were installed in an activities room where most of the facility's residents gathered for meals and daytime activities. The new lighting used in the research supposedly is bright without overpowering individuals with brightness, according to the researchers.

"We wanted to see whether lighting could affect the participants' sleep-wake rhythms. While the group was small, the results show promise in raising activity levels during daytime hours and increasing sleep at nighttime," Patricia Higgins, associate professor at the Bolton School of Nursing and one of the lead investigators, said in a statement to the media.

The Case Western researchers noted that research has mounted for several decades showing that light affects how people feel. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder characterized by symptoms that include depression, weight gain and unusual sleepiness. SAD usually begins in the fall and winter when there's less exposure to sunlight. Studies have shown that 50 to 60 percent of people diagnosed with SAD feel better after just four or five days of timed exposure to bright light.

You don't have to have full-blown case of SAD to benefit from exposure to sunlight or blue-white light, either. The Case Western University scientists noted that people particularly sensitive to changes in light often react positively to a boost in the brightness of light sources. A case in point: one unexpected side effect of the light change study was that most employees of the long-term care facility reported they felt better with the new lighting conditions.

"Why waste light if you can tune it to the right color and maximize the amount of useful light," Mariana Figueiro, assistant professor at Rensselaer and program director at Rensselaer's Lighting Research Center, said in the media statement.

If changing the lighting is documented to improve health in long-term care facilities, the researchers plan to take a natural next step and try to influence public policy to include new lighting standards for healthcare facilities. In addition, they hope to apply information from the light study to change the lighting in hospitals. The result might help patients have a speedier recovery or improve their quality of life with a good night's sleep.

As previously covered by Natural News (, there's another reason that exposure to sunlight can help improve health -- it spurs the body to produce vitamin D. A lack of that vitamin has been linked to a growing list of health problems, including dementia.

For more information:

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.