How does blue light affect your sleep?

Blue light & sleep, is this directly related? Have you ever caught yourself looking at a computer screen for hours – be it for work, for study purposes, or simply because you were on the internet or watching a movie? Perhaps you were active in front of the screen until late into the night, then want to sink into a restful, deep sleep – and find that you are wide awake and cannot find any sleep.

While there are some important things that can affect your sleep quality, it is also the amount of time you spend with your wireless devices that has a huge impact on how well you sleep. And the main reason for restless sleep or lack of sleep is the light emanating from the screens with its high proportion of blue.

What is blue light?

The sunlight we are normally exposed to is made of a few different light rays: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and many shades of each of these colors. Read more about light in our Beginner ’s guide to electromagnetic radiation.

It is fair to say that sunlight is the main natural source of blue light, helping us to stay awake and alert during the day.

On the other hand, Fluorescent and LED lighting, flat-screen TV screens, smartphone screens, tablets, computers are man-made devices also emitting blue light.

According to Dr. Heiting, Doctor of Optometry (O.D.), although the amount of blue light these devices emit is only a fraction of that emitted by the sun, it is the amount of time we spend using them and how close to the screens we are that can have possible long-term effects on our health.

 

The body’s biological clock: The Circadian Rhythm

Imagine your body has a biological clock running on a 24 hour cycle. This biological clock, called the circadian rhythm or the circadian clock, controls your sleep-wake cycle.

Your eyes help you recognise which part of the sleep-wake cycle it is currently in. They react to the exposure to light, including blue light, through light-sensitive cells. During night time, the eyes signal to the brain that it is time to sleep and regenerate. Darkness also causes the body to produce a hormone called ‘melatonin’. This hormone, produced in the pineal gland of our brain, signals the body to prepare for sleep. Beside this, melatonin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and contributes to a healthy function of the body’s immune and neurological systems.

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Electrosmog can often trigger health related problems, such as headaches and poor concentration.

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How does blue light impact on your sleep?

Blue light keeps you more alert and awake and tricks the body into thinking it is still daytime. The body’s clock is now shifted and out of sync, causing you to have trouble falling asleep, not having a deep enough sleep and waking up tired. As a result, the body produces very little to no melatonin during night time.

A 2014 study done by researchers at the Harvard Medical School in Boston showed that reading a backlit device before bed makes worsens your sleep significantly more than reading a paper book under dim light.

The study reported that people who used an iPad at night:

  • Produced 55 % less melatonin.
  • It took them an extra 10 minutes to fall asleep.
  • Had less so called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep during the night, which is when we dream.
  • On waking up the next day, the iPad readers felt sleepier, and it took them longer to feel alert, compared to the book readers.

Interestingly, the next night the iPad readers’ circadian clocks got delayed by more than 90 minutes and their bodies started to feel tired an hour and a half later than normal.

What happens when you don’t sleep?

Not giving your body the vital rest it needs can lead to all sorts of other problems. Lack of sleep prevents your brain to clear itself out of toxins built up during the waking hours.

A recent study lead by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, suggests that adults who do not get enough deep sleep may be on their way to developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Poor sleep might cause memory issues, trouble with concentration or mood changes. It can also weaken your immune system, increase inflammation and the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Improve your sleep hygiene for better health

It is now clear how important sleep is and why you should reduce your exposure to blue light during night time. Here are 5 tips to get you there:

  1. Use blue light blockers and filters on your devices. It will help you reduce exposure to artificial blue light during the day.
  2. Stop any activity on your mobile devices and computers at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. Allow your body to start preparing for sleep.
  3. Dim the lights during the evening. Switch off any LED lights and choose a softer, orange and yellow light to reduce blue light exposure.
  4. Like reading? Opt in for a book or paper-like e-reader without backlit background.
  5. Switch off wifi and remove your phone and any wireless devices from your bedroom during the night. Wireless devices with electromagnetic radiation that can also affect your sleep.

To find out more about how you can supercharge your sleep, read our blog post titled ‘5 Top Tips to help you sleep like a baby’.

Are you interested to find out how Waveguard can help you reduce the effects of electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices in your home, office and on-the-go? Then contact us.

Sources

EMF PROTECTION FOR YOUR OFFICE
Free: Checklist for EMF protection in your workplace

Electrosmog can often trigger health related problems, such as headaches and poor concentration.

What you’ll discover:

  • What is electrosmog and why it is so harmful to health;
  • How to mitigate EMF exposure in your workplace;
  • Easy and effective protective measures to promote wellbeing of every employee in your workplace.

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Berenike Stone

Berenike Stone

Berenike Stone hat ursprünglich Sprachen studiert, in der Unternehmenswelt gearbeitet und später die Karriere in den Bereich Gesundheit und Wohlbefinden gewechselt. Mit einem starken Hintergrund in Geist-Körper-Praktiken erkennt sie die Bedeutung des ganzheitlichen Ansatzes für das Wohlbefinden. Seit 2018 arbeitet sie mit Waveguard zusammen.

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