How Blue Light Affects Your Sleep

girl in bed with blue light

Ever notice how hard it can be falling asleep at night after a few hours in front of a computer or phone screen? As relaxing as it may be to browse the internet or watch a show before bed, the blue light created by these screens could be the cause of your lack of restful sleep.

What is blue light?

Blue light is part of the visible spectrum of visible light, having one of the shortest wavelengths with the highest energy. Blue light occurs naturally in sunlight, but because of how efficient it is energy-wise it’s most frequently used as the dominant wavelength in everything from TVs, phones, computers, and even LED lightbulbs. Blue light is a natural part of daylight, and when combined with the other wavelengths can help you stay alert, regulate your body, and give you better control over your internal clock. This is why if you avoid natural light it can be harder to control your sleep schedule and fall asleep at a consistent time.

Why is blue light bad for sleep?

Unfortunately, as blue light has become more commonplace and used throughout the day the average person can easily intake more blue light then their body can handle. When your body receives blue light during night hours your brain reacts as though it is receiving regular daylight, keeping you more alert and active and making it harder to turn in for the night as your body needs time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Additionally, blue light can inhibit the natural production of melatonin, an important chemical that helps us sleep.

How to prevent issues from blue light

It’s no simple task giving up blue light completely, but there are ways to regulate it. Try and avoid blue light exposure anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes before you plan to turn in, which will give your body enough time to prepare itself for sleep. Consider using a blue light filter on your electronic screens and keeping them dimmer than usual, as this will reduce the amount of unnatural blue light you experience in general. If you just can’t go without blue light during night hours you can also consider blue light filtering glasses which will help block out the blue light wavelengths and let your body more easily fall asleep. No matter how you choose to reduce excess blue light in your life, cutting it down at night can really help you achieve a healthier and more restful night’s sleep.

Guest submitted by Preston Micalizio 

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

https://www.livescience.com/53874-blue-light-sleep.html

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