Scientists discover the exact colour that disrupts your sleep

Scientists at Manchester University have isolated the exact colour in light that is so disrupting to sleep. It even causes problems if it’s not visibly discernible in smartphone “night mode”.

The colour cyan – between green and blue – is key in encouraging or preventing sleep, according to the researchers.

A paper, published in The Journal of Sleep Science, has shown the particular impact of the colour cyan.

When people were exposed to more or less cyan, researchers were able to measure different levels of the sleep hormone melatonin in people’s saliva.

The study found that it is not necessary for someone to be able to see the difference in colours, as the body reacted to the change even if it was not visible to the naked eye.

He said this could also affect other colours which were made using cyan.

For instance, there are shades of green that can include cyan – which also can be achieved using other colour combinations.

The discovery means that technologies can be developed to stimulate wakefulness, in, say car and lorry dashboards.

The researchers suggest that versions of the colour using cyan could be used on computer screens if the aim was to keep people awake – such as people working and required to stay alert at night.

Researchers say the same colours can be created with or without cyan
Researchers say the same colours can be created with or without cyan

Or there could be another version, the same colour but without cyan, which could be used if the aim was reduce disruption to sleep.

So be cautious in using existing technology before bed, as it is highly unlikely that the “night” modes have effectively removed this colour from the screens.


#sleep #neuroscience #nexus8

Further reading

Find out more about sleep and what you can do to improve it at

Manchester interdisciplinary collaboration for research on sleep (MICROS)


Experienced business leader, mentor and coach, with fascinations for technology, psychology and ancient philosophies. A self-confessed techno hippy with a unique talent for bringing the best out in people.

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