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How Blue Light from Screens Can Keep You Awake at Night

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Introduction

Our smartphones, laptops, televisions, office fluorescent lights, and the sun emit blue light. All day long, blue light seems all around us. Sleep specialists also urge you to be aware that blue light exposure during the day damages your ability to sleep.

The sun is the primary source of artificial blue light being subjected on Earth, although electronic screens like those on mobile devices, tablets, computers, and e-readers additionally emit blue light. Blue light is also generated by fluorescent bulbs and LED (light-emitting diodes).

What Is the Blue Light?

A specific type of visible light that is a member of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum is called blue light. The electromagnetic spectrum’s visible region has a colour spectrum that ranges from red to purple, precisely like the rainbow.

 On a spectrum, various light colours have wavelengths and frequencies ranging from small and rapid to large and sluggish. Smaller wavelengths of blue light impact the 24-hour internal rhythms that regulate numerous biological systems.

 They are also referred to as circadian rhythms. One circadian rhythm that is particularly vulnerable to blue light’s adverse effects is the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin levels and bodily alertness are significantly impacted by blue light.

Does Blue Light affect your sleep?

According to studies over the last ten years, more artificial blue light exposure before bedtime worsens sleep. For instance, earlier studies discovered that e-book readers had disturbed sleep patterns & were more exhausted the following day than readers of traditional books.

 In addition, the study showed that those who read on e-readers before the night even experienced shorter REM sleep, a deeper sleep stage during which the brain consolidates memory.

What Sleep Disorders Can Blue Light Therapy Treat?

Exposure to synthetic light that simulates sunshine is also used medically to treat diseases. Patients are positioned in the centre of a light treatment box, also known as a light therapy lamp, which produces intense light that resembles the sun’s rays. 

During these light treatment sessions, one  doesn’t have to sit straight in front of the lamp; instead, patients often keep the box with the light close by so that the light is in the distance, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Various sleep-wake conditions brought on by a misaligned circadian rhythm can be treated using blue light.

 On one end of the range, there is accelerated sleep phase disorder, which makes it hard to stay awake in the middle of the night while getting up too early in the morning, and delayed slumber phase syndrome, which makes it difficult for one to fall asleep till the very beginning of the morning.

Jet lag and working shift disorder are two conditions that can benefit from blue light therapy.

Blue light treatment may assist with these circadian cycle-related sleep problems when used regularly by gradually modifying your sleep schedule and restoring your circadian rhythm. 

Approximately 20 minutes of light therapy in the evening can help someone delay going to bed, whereas light exposure in the mornings—whether from natural sunlight or lamps—can stimulate wakefulness earlier and help someone become used to an earlier bedtime each night.

Improvements to Blue Light Exposure for Better Sleep

Take in as much midday light as possible.
Prevent using screens for an hour before bed.
Make changes to the devices’ settings.
If you need it, seek expert assistance for sleep issues.

What are Anti-Blue Light Glasses?

Anti-blue light glasses, often called screen spectacles, blue light filtering glasses, or gaming glasses, are glasses with lenses that are specially made to reduce the amount of damaging blue light that reaches the eyes and is typically emitted by digital gadgets.

What Equipment Produces Blue Light?

Many people continually use electronic gadget displays while working in artificial lighting. One can strategically time exposure to avoid circadian rhythm problems by being aware of these prevalent sources of bright blue light. 

Typical blue light sources include

Fluorescent lighting
LED bulbs
Smartphones, TVs, and computer monitors
Tablets
E-readers
Gaming consoles

Impact of the Blue Light Reduction

Turning off the sources is the most effective strategy to lessen nighttime exposure to blue light. This entails shutting off electronic gadgets when it becomes dark outside and dimming or decreasing the amount of LED & fluorescent bulbs in your house.

Even though it might not always be possible, several strategies to reduce exposure to blue light can keep you up at night.

Establish a routine: Between two and three hours before bed, set an alarm to remind you to switch off all technology.

Use an alternative lamp: If you want to read in bed, consider a red or orange lamp instead of a blue one. 

Become a dimmer: Use the “night mode” feature on some gadgets or lower the brightness on your electronic screens. 

Try an app: Several computer and smartphone programs can help limit blue light production if you must use electronics right before night.

Make your sleeping space more comfortable: Enhance your sleeping environment by using an eye mask to filter out light sources in your bedroom that you cannot dim or shut off after bed.

Conclusion

The brain is deceived by blue light into thinking it is daytime. When it happens, the body ceases to create melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Nature supplies us with melatonin to help us relax while getting ready for bed. A few hours before bedtime, the body starts releasing it.

Exposure to blue light at night, released by cell phones, computers, and fluorescent bulbs, can make it harder  to fall asleep. Reduce your intake of blue light at night if you have a history of trouble sleeping. Glasses with an amber colour may be beneficial. Numerous studies have shown that they can improve the quality of your sleep.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Does Any Light Wavelength Not Affect Your Circadian Rhythm Exist?

The sleep-wake cycle is unaffected by red light. Blue light significantly affects circadian rhythms more than orange and yellow light. For this reason, experts advise employing red, orange, and yellow lights if lighting is required at night. 

Do Blue Light also affect the Children?

Blue light does have an impact on children. Children exposed to blue light may not feel as drowsy before bed. According to a few studies, children may have more excellent melatonin suppression from blue light than adults. 

What Are Blue Light Glasses?

Blue light-blocking glasses are designed to limit how much blue light reaches the eyes. Blue light-blocking glasses may help prevent melatonin suppression, and people who wear them before bed may sleep better. 

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