How Blue Light is Affecting Your Sleep and the Dangers it Brings
How many of us are guilty of lying in bed at night scrolling through social media feeds, knowing full well that that dreaded alarm is creeping closer and closer to ringing? Do you find yourself just unable to put your phone down, close your laptop, or even just turn off your tv? Then the next morning you’re chugging cups of coffee, energy drinks, soda, and green tea just to slog through the day. It’s way more common than you might think.
There are millions of Americans who that are suffering from insomnia or just generally not getting enough sleep. Over 1/3 of Americans have reported that they get less than 7 hours of sleep per night. Consistently doing this significantly raises the risks of becoming depressed, getting into accidents, developing memory problems, and heightening the chance of contracting cardiovascular diseases. Those are some heavy consequences just to giggle at one more meme. Over 95% of Americans also report that they utilize some kind of electronic with blue-emitting lights at least several nights a week an hour before bed. This includes checking emails, texting, or even staring blankly at the fancy new LED clock you had to have. It’s an epidemic, one that is leading to some very serious health concerns for many.
Let’s get scientific for a moment - the reason that you’re not able to sleep is because the blue light emitting from your favorite devices is disrupting your melatonin production and throwing off your circadian rhythm, which is scientific speak for your biological clock, or the way your body functions with relation to time. Melatonin is the hormone that controls your sleeping cycle. This means that the less your body produces, the more issues you’re going to have getting to sleep. Some people’s circadian rhythm can handle these longer hours and reduced melatonin levels better than others, but in the end, a consistently low melatonin level is bad.
Some of you may shrug and decide that losing a little sleep isn’t that big of a deal, but that’s where you’d be wrong. A lack of melatonin can also impair your immune system, increase your risk for various forms of cancer, and lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome.
If you find yourself tossing and turning all night or just having a general restlessness when it’s time for bed, then a deficiency in melatonin production may be the problem. Now, take a breath, because all is not lost. Just because you may be experiencing a dip in melatonin production now doesn’t mean that you will always suffer from it. There are ways to halt and even regain healthy levels of melatonin. Fundamentally, you just need to reduce your exposure to blue light.
Solutions to Blue Light Issues
The most basic way to do this is to simply turn off your devices at least 2 to 3 hours before bed. Yes, this means no tv, no phone, no tablets – none of that. It would give you a perfect opportunity to finish that novel you’ve been putting off for years. Maybe take up meditation to get you Zen and centered for bed.
Did we mention that to get the full effect of eliminating all blue light overexposure, it would mean disconnecting from everything after the sun sets? That means no lights of any kind, because most home lights now are LED, and guess what LED lights emit… Yup, blue light.
Okay, being realistic here… It’s not likely you will be able to hard disconnect from everything for hours before bed, which is fair. Plus, something tells us that you’re not going to want to navigate through the house via candlelight only. Instead, you could look for functions on your devices that reduce the intake of blue light. Maybe electronics have night mode/night shift display settings that change the blue light emissions to amber when it senses the sun has gone down. You can even change these settings manually. If your devices don’t have this capability natively, there is also an app called f.lux that will handle all of this for you.
To tackle the harsh blue lights in your home, you could invest in smart bulbs that enable you to adjust the color lighting that they emit. Phillips HUE and other brands offer very strong solutions for this. Additionally, you could simply turn the lights off and use night lights, which utilize red lighting instead of blue. While red light can still be harmful, it is significantly less so.
Another solid option is to purchase glasses that significantly reduces your eye’s direct exposure to blue light. These glasses will also tackle the blue light effects in an entire room and not just what’s emanating from your device screens. This means that you wouldn’t have to black out your entire house after the sunsets. These glasses are also especially beneficial for those who have to work night shifts. It’s understood that you’re not likely able to really adjust the lighting or the devices in your workspace, but you deserve to have the same protections from these harmful blue lights. Those blue light blocking lenses will definitely help with that… and keep you from being fired for stealing the LED lights out of the workspace.
You can get it out of your head that blue light glasses are chunky and something made to be hidden at all costs, because DIFF Eyewear offers some very stylish and practical options for frames with these literally lifesaving lenses.