Researchers at the University of Manchester have published a study in the journal PLOS Biology according to which variations in the color of light have an impact on the way in which the brain measures the time of day.
The researchers examined how the changes of light at dawn and dusk could enable not only animals, but also humans, to sense the time of the day in that certain instance. The scientists were also able to determine the differences in the intensity of light once the sun rises or sets. According to their findings twilight light is bluer than the one during the midday.
The scientists found that in the case of animals the color can influence the internal clock of the brain in such a way that the animals’ physiology is affected and they change their behavior according to with.
For their study researchers used some mice which were exposed to different types of visual stimuli meanwhile the electrical activity of their brains was recorded. The results showed that a large number of their neurons were extremely sensitive to color which changed from blue to yellow. In fact they were more sensitive to color change than to brightness change.
The experiment was performed using an artificial sky which recreated color changes and brightness. The mice were put under the manmade sky for several days. It was noted that they had the highest body temperature when they were exposed to light during dusk time, when the color of the sky turned dark blue. But if the brightness was the only thing which changed at dusk the mice were very active. This points out at the fact that their biological clocks did not change according to the day-night cycle.
Timothy Brown from the Faculty of Life Sciences said that this was the first time when scientists were able to test the theory according to which color affect the internal clock in any mammal. He also added that the best part about this is the fact that the results of the study can also be applied in the case of humans.
Therefore by adjusting the light and its color our brains could be fooled and so the effect of jet lag could be diminished. Brown said:
“So, in theory, color could be used to manipulate our clock, which could be useful for shift workers or travellers wanting to minimize jet lag.”
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