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J Sleep Res. 1992 Mar;1(1):17-23.

Effects of evening bright light exposure on melatonin, body temperature and sleep.

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Department of Biology, Sinsheimer Laboratories, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.


Five male subjects were exposed to a single 2-h period of bright (2500 lux) or dim (<100 lux) light prior to sleep on two consecutive nights. The two conditions were repeated the following week in opposite order. Bright light significantly suppressed salivary melatonin and raised rectal temperature 0.3 degrees C (which remained elevated during the first 1.5 h of sleep), without affecting tympanic temperature. Bright light also increased REM latency, NREM period length, EEG spectral power in low frequency, 0.75-8 Hz and sigma, 12-14 Hz (sleep spindle) bandwidths during the first hour of sleep, and power of all frequency bands (0.5-32 Hz) within the first NREMP. Potentiation of EEG slow wave activity (0.5-4.0 Hz) by bright light persisted through the end of the second NREMP. The enhanced low-frequency power and delayed REM sleep after bright light exposure could represent a circadian phase-shift and/or the effect of an elevated rectal temperature, possibly mediated by the suppression of melatonin.

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