How to Stop Blue Light from Disturbing Your Sleep
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Do you ever find yourself feeling super energized on a bright, sunny day? If so, you can thank the high-intensity blue light that comes from the sun. Among the visible light spectrum, blue wavelengths have the greatest impact on your sleep-wake internal body clock.
Both natural and artificial blue light can boost your mental sharpness and alertness. Because of this, it is important to be mindful of how much of it you are being exposed to when you are winding down at night and getting ready for bed.
What is Blue Light?
Blue Light, otherwise known as high-energy visible (HEV) light, is a color that can be seen by human eyes due to being a color in the visible light spectrum. These wavelengths of both visible and non-visible light are measured in nanometers (nm). A nanometer is a metric unit of length equal to one billionth of a meter. Typically, the shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy. Blue light happens to be a short wavelength which produces high amounts of energy.
Human eyes are not good at blocking blue light, so almost all of it travels to the back of the retina, resulting in the brain translating light into images.
How Does Blue Light Affect Sleep?
Exposure to all colors of light can affect your natural sleep/wake cycle, also known as your circadian rhythm. However, blue light has the most detrimental effect because it blocks a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy and prepares your body's ability to go to sleep.
How Much Exposure to Blue Light Do People Get?
According to DataReportal, The average American spends a little over seven hours a day using electronic devices. This reinforces the idea that people are spending a lot of time staring at blue light. According to the National Sleep Foundation, around 90% of Americans regularly use an electronic device within an hour of going to bed.
Where Does Blue Light Come From?
Lights from cellphones and other devices often appear white, but they can also give off wavelengths within the range of 400-490 nanometers - which is blue light. Blue light comes from various indoor sources such as televisions, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, fluorescent light bulbs, LED masks, LED bulbs, and computer monitors.
How to Manage Blue Light
Some simple ways to decrease your exposure to blue light include turning off your TV, smart phone, and other devices when it is close to bedtime.
Other ways to reduce the negative effects of blue light around bedtime include:
Buy light-blocking glasses
These glasses are sold widely online. Amber or brown-tinted lenses tend to help best.
You can learn more about blue light glasses by reading our article Do I Need Blue Light Glasses?
Reduce screen time
It could be beneficial to get into the habit of reducing screen time within 2-3 hours of bedtime.
It is a good idea to lower the brightness on your laptop, TV, and mobile phone around bedtime. In fact, many devices even offer a night-time mode that changes the background from white to black. If this is not available in settings, you can download apps that filter out blue light without compromising the display quality.
If you are using an iPhone, make sure you are running iOS 9.3 or higher. You can tap Settings > Display & Brightness. Tap "Night Shift setting" in the next screen.
If you are using Android, you can use one of several third-party apps that filter out blue light such as Filter, sFilter, or Twilight.
If you are using a Windows 10 PC or tablet, you can utilize the Creators Update, which has a Night light option allowing you to change the screen to a warmer, more user-friendly color. Once you know you have it or have installed the necessary updates, you can go to Start > Settings > System. On the System page, make sure the first setting for Display is Active. To set up the night light, click on "Night light settings."
Change Your Light Bulbs
Opt for fluorescent light bulbs which emit less blue light than LEDs.
Use a Dim, Red Night Light
Red is the color that affects your circadian rhythm the least.
Set Your Alarm
Set an alarm for 2-3 hours before bedtime to remind yourself to stop using your devices a couple of hours before bedtime.
We hope this article is helpful and you find yourself getting a better night's sleep!
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