Have you ever sat at a table with a group of people and every single one of them was looking down at their phone? Nowadays, it is difficult to keep a simple conversation going because people are glued to their technology of choice. But, could excessive use of our devices be causing risks to our health?
The light emitted from our devices is known as blue light. Blue light has a very short concentrated wavelength. The shorter the wavelength emitted, the more powerful it is. When these lights hit our eyes it causes us to be alert. So, at night when you are on your device, instead of your body wanting to shut down and get ready for a good night sleep, the light wakes you up and decreases your melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that your body releases to help you fall asleep. If your melatonin levels fall when they shouldn’t be, it can influence your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is a 24 hour rhythm that helps your body go through daily tasks, such as when to wake up, and when to fall asleep. This will affect your quantity and quality of sleep for the night. If your circadian rhythm is off and you’re not getting enough sleep, this can also increase risk for anxiety, depression, cancer, and other diseases.
Here are some simple ways you can decrease the amount of blue light you are exposed to on a daily basis:
1) Put it down before bed- Avoid using your device for at least two to three hours before going to bed at night. Although, you may get the urge to scroll through Facebook or send some last minute messages, avoiding blue light before bed is imperative to keeping melatonin levels high.
2) Turn off all of the lights- By turning off all of the lights in your home one to two hours before bed, your melatonin levels will be high enough to get a good night’s sleep.
3) Use other colors at night- Some people have to use light to sleep. Instead of using a device or a regular LED night light, change your light to a color that has a longer wavelength like red, which is less powerful.
4) Use the Night Time Setting – Some devices like iphones and Mac computers come equipped with a setting that changes the color of your device at night so it’s not as bright.
Do you think blue light is affecting your life? If you have trouble winding down before you go to bed, try eliminating your exposure to blue light. It could be the simple solution you need in order to get a good night’s rest.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-is-blue-light-before-bedtime-bad-for-sleep/ http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/the-harm-that-light-can-do-to-your-sleep_b_7699134.html