Light can be used to facilitate alertness, task performance and circadian adaptation during night work. Novel strategies for illumination of workplaces, using ceiling mounted LED-luminaires, allow the use of a range of different light conditions, altering intensity and spectral composition. This study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT03203538) investigated the effects of short-wavelength narrow-bandwidth light (λmax = 455 nm) compared to long-wavelength narrow-bandwidth light (λmax = 625 nm), with similar photon density (~2.8 × 1014 photons/cm2/s) across light conditions, during a simulated night shift (23:00-06:45 h) when conducting cognitive performance tasks. Light conditions were administered by ceiling mounted LED-luminaires. Using a within-subjects repeated measurements study design, a total of 34 healthy young adults (27 females and 7 males; mean age = 21.6 years, SD = 2.0 years) participated. The results revealed significantly reduced sleepiness and improved task performance during the night shift with short-wavelength light compared to long-wavelength light. There was also a larger shift of the melatonin rhythm (phase delay) after working a night shift in short-wavelength light compared to long-wavelength light. Participants' visual comfort was rated as better in the short-wavelength light than the long-wavelength light. Ceiling mounted LED-luminaires may be feasible to use in real workplaces, as these have the potential to provide light conditions that are favorable for alertness and performance among night workers.
Keywords: alertness; circadian rhythm; night work; performance; short-wavelength light; sleepiness.