Fall Asleep Faster and Improve Sleep Quality
There is some research suggesting that red/NIR light can impact melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced primarily by the pineal gland in the brain, and even most non-scientists are somewhat familiar with melatonin for its role in promoting sleep. Interestingly, based on a few studies done in China, red/NIR light seems to increase melatonin produced by the body! Even more interestingly, it seems that this increased melatonin production comes from other parts of the body other than the pineal gland! The studies found increased melatonin in blood circulation following red/NIR light exposure, and studies have also found a dramatic benefit to sleep in people with insomnia. (Note: The studies used intranasal light specifically, but there is no logical reason to believe that light in the nose is necessary for this effect—it is likely from irradiating the bloodstream or the skin, or both.)
Here is a quick summary of the relevant research from Lew Lim, the founder of VieLight:
- The first documented use of a similar intranasal light therapy device to directly observe melatonin level was conducted by Xu C et al in 2001. They treated 38 subjects that had insomnia with intranasal low-level laser therapy once a day over 10 days. They found that serum melatonin had increased.
- The same group of researchers further treated another group of 128 patients with insomnia and found that the polysomnogram (sleep study that includes data on brain waves as electrical activity) data had improved.
- In 2006, Wang F et al reported that they had treated 50 patients with insomnia with intranasal low-level laser therapy that is of similar specifications to Vielight’s laser device for 60 minutes per session. Each session was conducted once a day over between 10 to 14 days. They found that the condition had improved significantly in 41 (82%) of the cases, mild for 4 (8%) of the cases, and none for 5 (10%) of the cases.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners often prescribe herbs as a remedy for insomnia. This seems to help somewhat. Chen YM et al tested 90 patients and found that that the condition improved significantly for 40% of the cases, mild for 37.5% and none for 22.5% of the cases. In the group that added the extra element of the intranasal low-level laser therapy, the improvement in the number of positive results were significantly more impressive. 78% of the patients experienced significant improvement, 20% mild and 2% none.
More research is still needed on this topic. But I also want to mention that I have experimented with this heavily with my Energy Blueprint program members and the reports I get from people who try it line up perfectly with the research—it just flat-out works, in a very noticeable and powerful way for many people.
There is one more thing I want to add about melatonin…
Most people know melatonin as a sleep-inducing hormone. And it is certainly that.
But most people have no idea that melatonin is imperative for mitochondrial function, protects mitochondria from damage, and is vital for mitochondrial regeneration while we sleep.
Evolutionary side note: It is interesting to think that maybe our bodies are wired to benefit from sitting next to a fire for several hours each night, as many of our ancestors did. Perhaps the red and near-infrared light emitted from the fire actually benefits us at the cellular level, partly because of the impact it can have on melatonin production and sleep enhancement. Some researchers have suggested that many of the health benefits of red/NIR light therapy may have to do with the effect on melatonin levels.298)
There are a number of impressive—and little known—studies showing how vital it is for mitochondrial health that you produce adequate melatonin each night. Melatonin benefits our mitochondria in numerous ways, including:
- Preventing free radical damage directly in the actual mitochondria (which is quite unique to melatonin since virtually all other “antioxidants” cannot do this).
- Regulation of mitochondrial bioenergetic function and maintaining respiratory complex activities, electron transport chain, and ATP production in mitochondria.
- Acting as a neuroprotectant in the brain, preventing the kind of oxidative stress/nitrosative stress-induced mitochondrial dysfunction seen in experimental models of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease.
- Potentially slowing ageing.
And remember, mitochondrial health is critical to not only our energy levels, but poor mitochondrial health is also implicated in numerous diseases and even ageing itself. So the fact that red/NIR light supports melatonin production may have far-reaching benefits to us for increasing energy levels (and preventing fatigue), slowing ageing, and preventing disease.