Light Treatment for Sleep Disorders: Consensus Report: III. Alerting and Activating Effects

Scott S. Campbell, Derk Jan Dijk, Ziad Boulos, Charmane I. Eastman, Alfred J. Lewy, Michael Terman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


In addition to the well-established phase-shifting properties of timed exposure to bright light, some investigators have reported an acute alerting, or activating, effect of bright light exposure. To the extent that bright light interventions for sleep disturbance may cause subjective and/or central nervous system activation, such a property may adversely affect the efficacy of treatment. Data obtained from patient samples and from healthy subjects generally support the notion that exposure to bright light may be associated with enhanced subjective alertness, and there is limited evidence of objective changes (EEG, skin conductance levels) that are consistent with true physiological arousal. Such activation appears to be quite transient, and there is little evidence to suggest that bright light-induced activation interferes with subsequent sleep onset. Some depressed patients, however, have experienced insomnia and hypomanic activation following bright-light exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-132
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of biological rhythms
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1995


  • EEG
  • alertness
  • arousal
  • light
  • phototherapy
  • shift work
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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