How light affects your performance

Dr. Andrew D. Huberman, a neuroscientist in the Department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, states that neural retina, which is mainly known for sensing the shapes and motion, has an another important feature as sensing the light in the environment. Neural retina, lying outside the skull without connected the brain, controls our alertness, patterns like sleeping and digesting through light sensing.

As opposed to the common obsession about the blue light, any light, especially bright light between 11pm and 4am impacts one’s performance as it has a punishment effect on the brain by suppressing dopamine. Dopamine is one of the brain’s rewards mechanism to reinforce neuroplasticity (brain’s ability to form synaptic connections) for achieving goals, and thus promote action and growth mindset. Furthermore, dopamine is not only released when the goal is achieved but also when any action towards that goal is accomplished.

Brain is a differential engine. It is not the light spectrum that is relayed to the brain but the contrast between blue and yellow lights during sunrise and sunset. That’s why watching the sunrise and sunrise has a regulating effect and rewards the brain.