back to article Ever felt down after staring at your phone late in bed? It's not just you – mice do too

Lab mice don't have much to laugh about but scientists in China have found new ways of making them depressed – and it's not good news for anyone that loves some screen time before shut-eye. A team from the University of Science and Technology of China has found that mice exposed to two hours of blue light each night for weeks …

  1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    So it’s the blue light all along

    Not the terrifying list of atrocious things that are happening in the world right now. I guess that’s a relief!

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: So it’s the blue light all along

      I'm pretty sure that mice are currently unaware of the global pandemic or race riots etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: mice are currently unaware

        I hardly think so. Obligatory Douglas Adams reference, first book, land on Magrathea, explanation of the origin and purpose of the Earth from Slartibardfast. Mice?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: mice are currently unaware

          We are being controlled by these mice deciding to get depressed under controlled circumstances, it's a ploy to stop us playing games at night.

      2. JDPower

        Re: So it’s the blue light all along

        You would say that #WhiteMousePrivelige

  2. Teiwaz Silver badge

    It's not the Blue light

    It's the time spent searching for the answer to the wretched question, and all the money and fame they're missing out on the Chat show circuit in their home dimension.

    1. illiad

      Re: It's not the Blue light

      and having to make another planet due to it being destroyed by stupid developers!!!

      https://youtu.be/y5xcvAoKojo

  3. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    SQUEAK!

    Doffs cap to the memory of Sir Pterry

    1. TheRealRoland
      Happy

      Aah.... The Bells of St. Mary's...

  4. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    It was probably a bit bloody stupid to swap all the usual red power/standby LEDs for blue ones then.

    You know, like world+dog has done over the last few years because "oooo, is new LED colourz ,yes, shiny shiny?" trumps common sense every day.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      hmm just realised my router has a bright shining blue LED and so does my dust covered home phone (Which I don't think I have ever used)

      1. eionmac

        999 in power cut

        So, you are glad you have never had to make a 999 call during a power cut. (Land line unused)

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Re: 999 in power cut

          Yup as its cordless, therefore won't work when the cradle has no power.

      2. hoola Bronze badge

        Since working at home to ease the desk clutter I bought a USB switch to put the wireless keyboard widget in. It has a blue light that is mindbogglingly bright in the daylight. Black insulation tape to the rescue.

        Years ago VW Polos used to have LED lights for the indicators and such on the dash. The main beam was not blue because they did not exist. Then a new version came out and it had a fairly dim blue LED instead of green for the main beam. At that time I recall ordinary 0.2" LED were about 20p but a blue one was over £100.

    2. illiad

      well i covered up all those pointless leds ages ago... at least android has an app to change 'screen indicators' to a different colour... :)

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    Don't your phones have a blue light filter...

    ...that reduces the amount of blue on the screen?

    Mine kicks in at 8pm. A little early right now, but a good time in the winter.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Don't your phones have a blue light filter...

      My phone turns off at 8pm - I'm very happy

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Don't your phones have a blue light filter...

        "My phone turns off at 8pm"

        Oh, you mean the phone part. Heh, that's hardly ever on for me. Can't use my phone at work (forbidden within the production area) and too far away from reality for it to receive at home.

        Thus, 8pm (winter) or 10pm (summer) is Netflix-and-hot-chocolate time.

        What? You think I use a phone as a phone? It's pretty much everything but...!

    2. The BigYin

      Re: Don't your phones have a blue light filter...

      Mine kicks in when I tell it to, I can also drop the screen brightness.

      I wish it went a smidge redder and a fair bit darker.

      But it's better than nothing.

    3. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Don't your phones have a blue light filter...

      ...and laptop has Redshift (the program that changes the screen color to a little more redder at nighttime).

      But I have to admit I didn't really feel any difference.

  6. Buzzword

    Did they try other colours too?

    Had to read the original paper to check, but yes, they compared blue vs pink. Only blue caused the depressive mood.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Did they try other colours too?

      Our history might be a clue there, sleeping in front of a fire has been a human thing for thousands of years. When I was a kid, staying at my grandparents in the winter, they always lit fire in the bedroom to keep me warm when I went to sleep.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Did they try other colours too?

        Yup. Red light, warming fireplace. Blue light, visitation by our alien overlords, and we all know that rarely ends well.

  7. Blackjack Silver badge

    Easy solution!

    The easy solution is to have a stronger light either behind you or over you.

    And this is not really new, there is a similar study about watching TV at night with the lights off.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Easy solution!

      And this is not really new, there is a similar study about watching TV at night with the lights off.

      I always fall asleep with a video on, usually wake just after autoswitch-off.

      But it's mostly the background noise, not the light.

      I tried audiobooks, but they are either annoying due to the readers voice, or I don't get any sleep due to paying attention.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Easy solution!

        Try listening to Jean-Michel André Jarre's 1976 album Oxygène if you are trying to get to sleep, then put on a few Blue Cheer albums to wake up.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Easy solution!

          Max Richter's "Sleep" is very good for falling asleep to, as well. The great thing is, when all eight CDs are ripped to whatever device you choose, it plays all night!

  8. Dr_N Silver badge

    Control Groups

    What did the groups of mice exposed to red and green LEDs do?

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Control Groups

      They stopped what they were doing, then started again.

      1. JDPower
        Thumb Up

        Re: Control Groups

        Post of the year, congrats

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Control Groups

      "What did the groups of mice exposed to red and green LEDs do?"

      Mostly sang Christmas carols.

    3. JDPower

      Re: Control Groups

      They got stuck in a hole

      (For those with rubbish music taste - Wildhearts reference)

  9. Mark Exclamation

    Maybe this has already been observed, tested, and diagnosed. I suggest you read/listen to a book "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker. In it he discusses the effects of blue LEDs on sleep, the lack of which causes many health issues (amongst many other things). A very interesting read/listen.

  10. osxtra

    Bummer

    And hear I thought it was just all that scary news content making me blue...

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