Exhausted shift workers may be safer driving home at night when they’re exposed to bright light before they hit the road, a small study suggests.
To test the effect of light therapy on driving, researchers did a series of three experiments with 19 adults. In two scenarios, participants spent a night being sleep-deprived in a lab and then spent 45 minutes in dim or bright light before a driving test. For a third test, people got a good nights’ sleep at home and then went to the lab for 45 minutes of bright light exposure before a driving test.
After sleep deprivation in the lab, five people exposed to dim light therapy got in car accidents during the driving simulations. None of the people who slept at home crashed, and neither did any of the sleep-deprived people who got bright light therapy before getting behind the wheel, the study found.
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