Posted by Nicole on February 18, 2019
What are your nightly activities before bedtime? Do you crash on the couch and binge on Netflix? Do you catch up on your emails or stream videos on YouTube? Do you chat on your smartphone until the wee hours of the morning? Do you play video games on your console?
A lot of us like to relax during the final hours of the day with our electronic devices. But ironically, those activities could be making it hard for you to sleep.
Blue Light Disrupts Our Circadian Rhythms
You probably are aware that your body has a biological clock known as your “circadian rhythm.”
Your circadian rhythm is regulated by the regular cycles of light and dark between day and night. Daylight helps to keep us awake. After the sun sets, our biological clocks know it is time to wind down and go to sleep.
For most of human history, lighting during the night time was pretty minimal. But in our modern world, we can keep the lights on for as long as we want to stay up.
Because artificial lighting mimics daylight, it can trick our biological clocks into making us feel more alert after sundown.
But not all wavelengths are equally disruptive to our circadian rhythms. Research shows that blue light can be particularly problematic.
According to the Harvard Medical School, “While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light at night does so more powerfully. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).”
That means that late night exposure to the blue-toned light from your TV, computer or mobile device could be keeping you up.
Tips for Preventing Blue Light Insomnia
How can you reduce your exposure to blue light late at night and get better sleep?
- During the day, keep window shades open and step outside in the sunlight when you can.
- Use warm-toned red light instead of cold-toned blue light at night. This will suppress melatonin the least. You might need to change a few light bulbs, but it can make a significant difference.
- If possible, do not watch TV, play games, or use your computer late at night.
- Dim lights and screens at night when you can (just not so much as to create eye strain).
- If you still want to use your computer or mobile device in the hours before bed, try downloading and applying a blue light filter app.
- Working the night shift? Wear glasses which block blue light.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to sleep better. Still looking for more help getting a good night’s rest? Try taking a natural supplement to promote restful and rejuvenating sleep. You can also find more tips and tricks for healthy, restorative slumber in our blog archive.