Blue Light and Sleep: What Nurses Need to Know

Beverly M. Hittle, PhD, RN; Imelda Wong, PhD


Am Nurs Journal. 2022;17(3) 

In This Article

Be Strategic

Research into strategic light use in the workplace continues to evolve. We continue to learn about sleep, light exposure, and associated health mechanisms. A recent literature review by Lowden and colleagues highlighted five lighting factors that should be considered before implementing workplace lighting changes: light wavelength or spectrum, light intensity, duration of light exposure, time of day light exposure occurs, and light exposure experienced earlier in the day. Little knowledge exists about the correct dosage (duration, intensity) of these various light components, and we have limited consensus on how light exposure should be measured and the most salient outcomes. Because of these variabilities and too few longitudinal studies, little guidance is available on how to integrate lighting interventions in the workplace. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations should strategize how and where to implement lighting changes. Brighter light may help boost night shift nurses' alertness, but it also could disrupt patients' sleep.