Blue is the color between violet and green on the optical spectrum of visible light. It turns out that the blue light emitted from our electronics tricks our brains into thinking that it is still daytime. This is especially crucial during the night when we are getting ready to sleep. The blue light inhibits our body’s production of melatonin, which in turn blocks our body and brain from getting the signal that it’s time to get tired and go to sleep. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland which is located in the brain. When it starts to get dark outside, our brain signals our body to become tired and sleepy by the secretion of melatonin. A lack of melatonin production, caused by blue light emitting electronics, greatly affects our quantity and quality of sleep.
We all experience the blue light emitted from the electronic devices we use every day. We stare at our screens, whether they be our computers, cell phones or televisions, perhaps not knowing that this invisible blue light is affecting our sleep.
Sleep is a highly underrated routine in each of our daily lives. It is considered one of the most important parts of our health along with diet and exercise. Unfortunately in the chaos of modern life, we are sleeping much less and the quality of our sleep is continuously on the decline. Studies have shown that poor sleep habits have been linked to heart disease, diabetes 2, obesity and depression. One of the biggest contributors to our lack of sleep is our use of electronics and artificial light at night.
There are multiple ways we can block that pesky blue light from disrupting our sleep cycle. One simple idea is to turn off all lights and electronics 1-2 hours before bed time. Other options would be to make sure your bedroom is completely dark or to use a sleep mask at night. There are also a few products you can use to help block the blue light. There are blue-blocking glasses that you can wear and a computer program you can install (https://justgetflux.com/) that automatically adjusts the brightness of your screen based on your time zone. If you are an iPhone user, there is a handy setting for your display called “Night Shift” that can automatically shift your display to warmer colors after dark. Any of these ideas would be worth a try if you are having trouble getting to sleep at night.
Laptop with F.lux program vs. Laptop without