Several studies have suggested that regularly exposing the body to blue light may significantly lower blood pressure. These impacts may occur surprisingly quickly too: A study in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that the blood pressure of participants exposed to just 30 minutes of blue light (1) fell significantly compared to participants exposed to control lights. Below, we’ll explain more about the possible connections between blue light and blood pressure.
Why blood pressure matters
A blood pressure within the range that medical experts classify as normal lessens the chances that your body’s arteries will become inflamed (2). The less inflamed your arteries, the better your body may be able to resist cardiovascular disease. Additionally, blood pressure in the normal range suggests that you’re getting enough exercise, sleep, and nutrition.
Blood pressure may also correlate with mental health. According to the American Heart Association, the adrenaline and cortisol (3) released during stress can affect blood pressure. As such, high blood pressure can be a physical indicator of excessive physical and mental stress, which any reasonable person will want to avoid. And that’s not just because we all prefer feeling relaxed and clear-headed to constantly worrying – people who lack chronic stress (4) are often healthier.
Can your environment impact blood pressure?
Scientists believe that both genetics and environmental factors affect blood pressure. According to a 1997 study in the Journal of Human Hypertension (5) (hypertension is the scientific term for high blood pressure), environmental factors that may increase blood pressure include:
- Chronic stress, as previously discussed.
- Physical activity. A 2015 report in the scientific journal Current Hypertension Reports (6) noted that, although getting more exercise may lead to healthier blood pressure levels, knowledge about this correlation remains limited despite this idea’s prevalence.
- Sodium (salt) intake. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) (7), reducing your sodium intake is strongly correlated with lower blood pressure. The AHA recommends a diet of no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, but the average American daily sodium intake (8) is 3,400 mg. This gap may be due to the small volume of 2,300 mg, which is roughly one teaspoon of salt.
- Alcohol use. While the occasional drink is unlikely to affect blood pressure, regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol may elevate your blood pressure (9). Put another way, cutting back on alcohol may increase the chances that your blood pressure remains in a normal range.
- Other environmental factors. Your environment can refer to modifiable lifestyle factors like exercise and alcohol use, but it can also refer to the literal environment around you. A 2011 article in Journal of Clinical Hypertension (10) explored “environmental hypertensionology,” which theorizes that environmental factors like temperature, altitude, and air pollutants can also influence blood pressure.
Additionally, according to a 2018 study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (11), light is another environmental factor that can affect blood pressure. However, not all light equally impacts blood pressure – a blue hue shows the strongest potential effects.
How blue light can impact blood pressure
Studies have suggested that blue can impact blood pressure in several ways, though some of these correlations are more direct than others. Research remains ongoing on these effects, which include:
- Increased blood flow. According to the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology study we mentioned earlier, exposure to blue light may increase nitric oxide levels in the bloodstream. The current theory these two studies share is that blue promotes the release of this substance from the skin into the bloodstream. Once nitric oxide arrives in the blood, it is believed to relax blood vessels. In turn, blood flow increases, which means lower blood pressure.
- Reduced arterial stiffness. The stiffer your arteries, the more work they need to do to pump blood. The previously cited European Journal of Preventive Cardiology study also found that blue light exposure may reduce arterial stiffness, and with fewer obstacles to blood pumping, blood pressure decreases.
- Lowered stress. The impact of blue on stress isn’t a direct impact on blood pressure, but as we mentioned earlier, high stress is correlated with high blood pressure. According to a 2017 study in the scientific journal PLOS ONE (12), the color blue may lead to quicker post-stress relaxation than traditional white or off-yellow lighting. By extension, blue may help to lower blood pressure
- Less chance of depression. The effects of blue light on depression also account for some indirect impacts on blood pressure. According to a 2020 study in the scientific journal Frontiers in Psychiatry (13), blue light deprivation may be correlated with increased levels of depression. And according to a 2013 study in the scientific journal Experimental & Clinical Cardiology (14), there may be a correlation between depression and high blood pressure. The combined results of these studies suggest another pathway through which exposure to blue hues may lower blood pressure.
How to add more blue light to your daily life
If you’re looking to incorporate more blue lights throughout your home, then good news – it’s a pretty easy task! You can choose from all kinds of types to regularly experience more blue lighting. Some of these options include:
1. String lights
You might first think of string lights as a Christmas decor staple, but red and green certainly aren’t your only string light color options. Plenty of blue string lights are available to flank the edges of your door frames, windows, or bed frames with a gentle touch of color. However, string lights on their own aren’t usually powerful enough to fully turn a room blue – for that, you’ll need laser projectors and bulbs.
2. Sky lights
No, we don’t mean the sunshine that comes through your ceiling windows into your house – that light is pretty, but it’s not blue. At BlissLights, when we say sky lights, we mean blue starry skies projected into your indoor space. A great example is our Sky Lite Laser Galaxy Projector, which floods your room with gorgeous blue stars and nebulas. And with this full blue immersion could come lower blood pressure – yes, the same projector that’s all over TikTok might be great for your well-being!
3. Color bulbs
Blue lighting is easy to find – and install – if you choose color bulbs. Try LED lights so blue can be one of your many color options, or choose laser lights for especially bright, focused blue light. Our BlissBulb is a perfect example – just screw it into your usual fixtures and watch as thousands of entrancing blue laser points immerse your room. You’ll feel great not just while surrounded by starry blue skies, but afterward too if your blood pressure does indeed fall.
4. Portable lights
If you’re a big believer in the relationship between blue light and blood pressure, you might want to break out some blue wherever you go. That’s where portable fixtures come in. Keep one with you in your bag alongside a mobile charger or your laptop, and then when the urge to relax hits, just plug your light into your device and you’re ready to relax! Our StarPort Laser USB in blue is great for cutting stress on the go and perhaps lowering your blood pressure too.
5. Ambient lights
Set exactly the right mood in blue. Ambient lights provide the cornerstone of your space’s emotional pull as they spread breathtaking hues throughout your room – and our Ark Ambient Aurora does exactly this in blue. The Ark also projects stunning green auroras throughout your space, allowing you to simulate a relaxing night under northern lights. And with this blue-tinted relaxation could come lower blood pressure.
Go blue with BlissLights
BlissLights has ample blue laser and LED lighting options if you’re interested in its possible effects on your blood pressure. Whether you choose laser bulbs, projectors, or portable lighting, you can turn any indoor space into a bath of blue hues and potentially achieve the stress-free relaxation sometimes associated with lowering your blood pressure. And often, regularly lower blood pressure can accompany improvements in your physical and mental health. Choose your blue BlissLight to start working toward a more balanced life!
- Medical News Today. “Could blue light reduce blood pressure?” medicalnewstoday.com; accessed December 2020
- Harvard Health Publishing. “Why blood pressure matters so much.” health.harvard.edu; accessed December 2020
- American Heart Association. “Mental Health and Heart Health.” heart.org; accessed December 2020
- WebMD. “Stress Symptoms.” webmd.com; accessed December 2020
- Pickering, T G. “The effects of environmental and lifestyle factors on blood pressure and the intermediary role of the sympathetic nervous system.” Journal of Human Hypertension; 1997.
- Hedge, Sheila M and Solomon, Scott D. “Influence of Physical Activity on Hypertension and Cardiac Structure and Function.” Current Hypertension Reports; 2015.
- American Heart Association. “Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure.” heart.org; accessed December 2020
- U.S. Food and drug Administration. “Sodium in Your Diet.” fda.gov; accessed December 2020
- Mayo Clinic. “Alcohol: Does it affect blood pressure?” mayoclinic.org; accessed December 2020
- Stern, M et. al. “Blue light exposure decreases systolic blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and improves endothelial function in humans.” European Journal of Preventive Cardiology; 2018.
- Minguillon, J et. al. “Blue lighting accelerates post-stress relaxation: Results of a preliminary study.” PLOS ONE; 2017.
- Hu, H et. al. “Blue Light Deprivation Produces Depression-Like Responses in Mongolian Gerbils.” Frontiers in Psychiatry; 2020.
- Rubio-Guerra, A F et. al. “Depression increases the risk for uncontrolled hypertension.” Experimental & Clinical Cardiology; 2013.
- Rodríguez-Morilla, B et. al. “Blue-Enriched Light Enhances Alertness but Impairs Accurate Performance in Evening Chronotypes Driving in the Morning.” Frontiers in Psychology; 2018.
- Healthline. “Fatigue and High Blood Pressure: Is There a Connection?” healthline.com; accessed December 2020
- In the Know. “This Laser Projector Turns Your Room Into a Dreamy Galaxy.” intheknow.com; accessed December 2020