Effects of calibrated blue–yellow changes in light on the human circadian clock

Christine Blume, Christian Cajochen, Isabel Schöllhorn, Helen C. Slawik, Manuel Spitschan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Evening exposure to short-wavelength light can affect the circadian clock, sleep and alertness. Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells expressing melanopsin are thought to be the primary drivers of these effects. Whether colour-sensitive cones also contribute is unclear. Here, using calibrated silent-substitution changes in light colour along the blue–yellow axis, we investigated whether mechanisms of colour vision affect the human circadian system and sleep. In a 32.5-h repeated within-subjects protocol, 16 healthy participants were exposed to three different light scenarios for 1 h starting 30 min after habitual bedtime: baseline control condition (93.5 photopic lux), intermittently flickering (1 Hz, 30 s on–off) yellow-bright light (123.5 photopic lux) and intermittently flickering blue-dim light (67.0 photopic lux), all calibrated to have equal melanopsin excitation. We did not find conclusive evidence for differences between the three lighting conditions regarding circadian melatonin phase delays, melatonin suppression, subjective sleepiness, psychomotor vigilance or sleep. The Stage 1 protocol for this Registered Report was accepted in principle on 9 September 2020. The protocol, as accepted by the journal, can be found at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.13050215.v1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-605
Number of pages16
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


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