It’s so hard to put down our phones and tablets at night because we feel like we might miss out on something important, or we want to watch just one last video, or read just one more article. But the trouble with technology is that it doesn’t mesh well with sleep. Sleep experts recommend turning off the TV, putting our phone out of reach, and turning off tablets a few hours before bed in order to enhance our quality of sleep. For many of us, those few hours before bed can feel like a scarce resource, and the idea of limiting technology use during that time sounds constricting. We’ve known for a while that technology can negatively impact sleep but it wasn’t until recently that researchers started to understand just how much our devices affect our sleep.
There’s a lot of problems that blue light, emitted by smartphones, tablets, laptops, and many other electronic devices, is impacting on the quantity and quality of the sleep we are getting. Darkness is a natural cue to our bodies that it’s time for sleep, but we’re circumventing it by staring at bright screens for hours after the sun has gone down.
What’s the problem with blue light?
Blue light tells our brain that it isn’t time to sleep, according to the experts.
There are about 30,000 cells inside your eye that are reactive to the wavelength of light which would be considered blue. Blue runs in about the 460 nanometer range, in terms of the spectrum of light. That particular spectrum of light hits these cells and makes them send a signal to an area of the brain known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus and tells it to turn off melatonin production. Melatonin is the key that starts the engine for sleep.
The impact of blue light has been well-known to sleep researchers and scientists for many years now. Our circadian rhythms determine our internal clocks. Someone who routinely stays up late probably has a longer rhythm than an early riser. Daylight traditionally keeps those rhythms aligned with our environments. Blue light therapy is frequently used to shift sleep patterns and tackle sleep disorders.
There are more serious health issues to consider if you aren’t getting enough sleep. When our circadian rhythms are thrown off researchers believe we are put at more risk of all sorts of things including heart attacks, obesity and type-2 diabetes, and various cancers. Lack of sleep has also been linked with mood problems, anxiety and depression, and increased risk of accidents.
Using an electronic gadget for just two hours before bed can cause sleep problems, researchers have discovered.
The new study from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute believe the displays cause melatonin suppression.
Melatonin is the chemical that controls our body clock.
You can decrease your exposure to blue light in a variety of ways, beyond turning off all the light sources. There are special filters, glasses, light bulbs, and even software you can use.
The right balance of blue light
There’s nothing wrong with blue light for most of the day. You just don’t want to have it about 90 minutes or so before bed.
Sunlight has a tremendous amount of blue light in it. The worrying negative effects are connected with the melatonin deficit and disruption of circadian rhythms that leads to less sleep and poorer quality sleep. But, we need blue light to get us going in the morning, and it has been linked with higher levels of alertness.
When we wake up in the morning our circadian rhythm is a little off, our internal biological clock runs on a slightly longer schedule in many cases than 24 hours, and so to reset that clock every morning we need sunlight.
Use Night Modes in smartphones to reduce Blue Light.
Here are the some steps/information to reduce blue light
References: Business insider, Daily mail, AndriodPit
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