Blue Light & Sleep | Transform Your Energy By Blocking This Bad Light
As our world continues to become increasingly connected to digital devices, the conversation about the effects of blue light is starting to pick up. Blue light is emitted by tablets, computers, cell phones, and natural sources such as the sun. This form of light serves an essential role in our ability to stay alert and awake during the day, as well as our ability to get restful sleep at night. However, when introduced at the wrong time, blue light has the ability to disrupt our circadian rhythm. Additionally, when used for excessive amounts of time (especially at night), blue light has other harmful impacts. Learn more about blue light & sleep, how this type of light impacts the body, and how to reduce exposure.
What is Blue Light and Where Do We Get Exposure?
Blue light is one of many forms of light in the visible spectrum. It has one of the shortest wavelengths, and as a result, is one of the most energetic. This form of light flickers much more than other types of wavelengths and can cause eye strain and headaches. Blue light is naturally produced by the sun, which is actually to our benefit.
Without being exposed to natural blue light, both our sleep quality and energy levels would suffer greatly. During the day, the blue light from the sun causes us to feel awake, energetic, and alert. As this light is reduced in the evening hours, production of the hormone melatonin begins to rise, which helps create restful sleep.
Because of its properties, blue light is used as an effective way to light electronic devices. This type of artificial blue light is used in devices such as computers, televisions, cell phones, tablets, and more.
Effects of Blue Light & Sleep On Cortisol Levels
After reading about the primary purpose of blue light, it is easy to see how blue light and sleep are connected. For thousands of years, our natural source of blue light (the sun) was able to function as it should. In modern times, however, the common practice of watching TV and checking phones and computers before bed is disrupting our quality of evening rest. The normal process that is supposed to occur immediately before and during sleep is no longer happening as it should for most individuals.
Levels of cortisol (commonly known as the hormone that is released when experiencing stress) are supposed to be non-existent before sleep. This allows melatonin to be released, which produces restful sleep. When individuals are exposed to blue light too close to going to sleep, this balance is interrupted. If cortisol levels are too high, proper levels of melatonin will not be released when they should.
Other Effects of Blue Light
It is no surprise, then, that so many people these days are seeking prescription and over-the-counter sleep aid medications. If more people knew about the connection between blue light & sleep, more individuals could address the root cause, and get the quality of sleep that they need.
In addition to the issues related to blue light & sleep, this type of light has been linked to other major health consequences. Studies have linked regular blue light exposure at night (especially for those who work night shifts) to conditions such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Experts believe that this increased risk of disease might be linked to the disruption of the release of melatonin. Additionally, changes in blood sugar and other hormones may also play a role in these conditions.
Also, excessive exposure to blue light from televisions, computers, and more can cause irreversible damage to the eyes. Damage to the retinas, as well as age-related macular degeneration, have been linked to blue light exposure.
Reducing Evening Exposure to Blue Light
Since research has made it clear that blue light & sleep do not mix, it is important to take steps to reduce your exposure to artificial blue light in the evening hours. Follow as many of these tips as possible to achieve optimum sleep and reduce your risk of health conditions linked to excessive blue light exposure.
- Wear specially designed glasses that filter blue light at night. Two brands that I personally recommend are Swanwick Sleep and TrueDark™ Twilight. Each of these glasses filters blue light from electronics, allowing you to use your electronics safely before going to bed. It is recommended that you begin wearing glasses that filter blue light at least one hour before going to bed. You can also use these glasses when working night shifts.
- Download and use an app on your phone and computer that filters blue light.
- If you prefer not to use blue light filtering glasses or apps, be sure to discontinue the use of all electronics at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Instead of using conventional lighting to read books before bed, use a dim red light instead.
- Can’t go to bed without watching TV or browsing the internet? Try replacing these activities with reading, yoga, or meditation instead.
Why Not Use Melatonin to Sleep Instead?
You might be wondering why I haven’t recommended taking melatonin supplements to boost the reduced melatonin levels. Melatonin only works for one to two months, and then needs to be stopped. The true solution to the issues caused by blue light on sleep is to eliminate the source of the problem. By addressing the root cause of blue light & sleep issues, you can eliminate the need to take an extra supplement, and have a long-term solution. Discover all the benefits of natural sleep solutions perform to perform at your best.
Benefits of Blocking Blue Light Before Sleeping
Rather than covering up the cause of poor sleep quality, you will experience lasting results by eliminating excessive exposure to blue light. By understanding that blue light & sleep issues are so closely linked, you can take steps to limit your exposure hours before bedtime, rather than taking a sleep aid or supplement. After reducing your exposure to blue light at night, you can expect to experience the following benefits:
- Improved sleep quality
- Ability to stop taking sleep aid medications and supplements
- Increased energy, improved mood, and attention in the daytime
- Reduced risk of developing serious chronic health conditions (e.g. cancers, heart disease, eye damage)