SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – While LED streetlights may be saving energy, doctors say their blue glow may be leading to sleepless nights.

According to Dr. Clete Kushida, the medical director of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, the switch over from the yellow light emitted from the older sodium street lamps to the blue of the LED blubs has an impact on the sleep area of your brain.

“It’s going to be a problem because anyone who’s out at night,” he told KPIX 5. “The blue light might make it very difficult for them to fall asleep, even without a sleep disorder.”

Kushida said the blue light could turns us into a nation of sleepless zombies.

“The way it affects sleep is that it suppresses melatonin secretion,” he said. “Melatonin is important because it’s one of the key hormones for how we initiate sleep.”

The impact of blue light is not lost on the designers in the Silicon Valley. Apple recently introduced a night shift feature that reduces the amount of blue light iPhones emit at night.

Kushida said if you are having trouble sleeping, you should look around and see if blue lighting is the culprit.

“If a lot of the lights at night were blue wavelength light and high intensity that can cause individuals to have difficulty falling asleep,” he said.


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