The Battle of Brainwaves: Red vs. Blue Light Exposure

The Battle of Brainwaves: Red vs. Blue Light Exposure by Dr. Melissa Sonners

The human brain is a complex and fascinating organ that constantly operates, even when we’re asleep. One of the most intriguing aspects of the brain’s activity is the generation of brainwaves. These electrical patterns reflect our mental state and can be influenced by various factors, including exposure to different types of light. In this blog, we’ll explore the impact of red and blue light on brainwaves and how they affect our daily lives.

Understanding Brainwaves

Before we dive into the effects of red and blue light, let’s briefly understand what brain waves are. Brainwaves are rhythmic electrical patterns generated by the brain’s neurons when they communicate with each other. These patterns can be categorized into different frequency bands, each associated with a distinct mental state:

  • Delta Waves (0.5-4 Hz): Predominant during deep sleep, relaxation, and healing.
  • Theta Waves (4-8 Hz): Linked to meditation, creativity, and deep relaxation.
  • Alpha Waves (8-13 Hz): Present when you’re awake but relaxed, like during meditation.
  • Beta Waves (13-30 Hz): Associated with active and alert mental states, such as problem-solving and concentration.
  • Gamma Waves (30-100 Hz): Involved in higher cognitive processes like perception and consciousness.

Now that we understand brainwaves, let’s explore how exposure to red and blue light can influence them.

The Impact of Red Light

Red light has a longer wavelength and is often associated with warmth, relaxation, and comfort. Exposure to red light has been shown to have several effects on brain waves:

  • Alpha Enhancement: Red light exposure can increase alpha wave activity in the brain. This suggests that it may promote relaxation and a state of calm.
  • Improved Sleep: Red light exposure in the evening has been linked to better sleep quality. It helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm and melatonin production, leading to improved sleep patterns.
  • Pain Reduction: Some studies suggest that red light therapy may help alleviate pain by modulating brainwave activity. It’s used in various therapies for pain management.

The Influence of Blue Light

On the other end of the spectrum, blue light has a shorter wavelength and is often associated with alertness and wakefulness. Exposure to blue light, particularly from digital screens, can affect brain waves in the following ways:

  • Increased Beta Waves: Blue light exposure, especially from screens before bedtime, can increase beta wave activity, making it harder to fall asleep. This is due to the suppression of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
  • Enhanced Alertness: Blue light exposure during the day can boost alertness and cognitive performance by increasing beta and gamma wave activity. It can improve focus and productivity.
  • Disrupted Circadian Rhythm: Prolonged exposure to blue light in the evening can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm, leading to sleep disturbances and potential long-term health issues.

Balancing Red and Blue Light Exposure

While red and blue light have their unique effects on brain waves, it’s essential to strike a balance in our exposure to them. Here are some tips to optimize your light exposure:

Avoid exposure to blue light as often as possible, especially in morning and at night

-We use blue light filters on our digital devices

– The lamps in our home have red light bulbs in them from amazon [Red Light Bulbs]

-Our Sauna Space Photon Light is our main source of light in mornings & evenings.  Extra bonus: it creates a bonfire-like effect that we all find ourselves gathering around.  By far one of my favorite products we’ve ever purchased! [Photon Light] USE CODE: INSPIRED

If you want to learn MORE about it you can also listen to my podcast with Brian Richards, founder of Sauna Space here [Listen to Episode 21]

 Spend as much time as possible in natural light.  Avoid sunglasses when possible, allowing your eyes to fully absorb the light.  This will increase levels of Serotonin (think HAPPY chemical) in your brain.  


The battle of brainwaves between red and blue light reveals the intricate relationship between light exposure and our mental states. While red light promotes relaxation and sleep, blue light enhances alertness and productivity. By understanding how these colors of light affect us, we can make informed choices about when and how to expose ourselves to them, optimizing our well-being and daily performance. Balancing these influences in our modern, technology-driven lives can help us harness the power of light to our advantage.