As young adults transition in to a college environment, their sleep schedules become increasingly disrupted and irregular. A two-week feasibility study tested a protocol to aid sleep disturbed young adults with using blue light-blocking glasses at night before bed. Given the unique living arrangements and social pressures on campus, the researchers wanted to first test whether participants would follow the study protocol before launching a larger efficacy trial.

All 12 participants had sleep complaints and were living on campus for the first time as undergraduates. Nine met criteria for at least one sleeping disorder—primary insomnia being the most common, followed by inadequate sleep hygiene. Compared to baseline, those wearing the blue-blocking glasses before bed tended to sleep longer and have fewer awakenings. Researchers also found a lower level of activity in those who wore the glasses during 8pm to 2am as well as a decrease in hypomanic-type symptoms.

The study documented a high degree of acceptability and adherence without adverse effects. The researchers will also consider addressing challenges associated with risk factors of mental health onset or exacerbation of symptoms for vulnerable individuals. Nevertheless, they concluded that a larger trial is necessary to fully test the efficacy of blue-blocking glasses.

Perez Algorta G, Van Meter A, Dubicka B, et al. Blue blocking glasses worn at night in first year higher education students with sleep complaints: a feasibility study. Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2018;4:166.