Why Blue Light Affects our Sleep
Numerous recent studies have indicated that modern light sources like laptops, cellphone screens and even fluorescent lights contain a high level of blue light. Tis can disrupt the body’s melatonin production. It in turn can alter natural circadian rhythms. Sleep specialists have suggested that the exposure to blue light after sunset could be a major influence in the increased incidence of sleep disorders and insomnia.
Ideally, we should reduce our artificial light exposure after the sun has set.
Our beloved devices really do need to be turned off a few hours before we head off to bed..
Unfortunately in todays world inside the modern household it’s rarely an option. The National Sleep Foundation found that over 85% of parents and 79% of children have at least 1 electronic device in their bedrooms.
Any kind of light can suppress the secretion of melatonin, but the blue wavelengths that are so beneficial during daylight hours, because they boost attention and mood, seem to be the most disruptive at night. Researchers at Harvard conducted an experiment to compare the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light against exposing the same subjects to green light source 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.
Researchers have also shown; that aside being exposed to the blue light emitted from electronic devices; that even normal levels of room lighting can have similar negative effects on melatonin. One research paper showed that just a single hour of moderately bright light exposure of 1000 lux was enough to keep night time melatonin at daytime levels.
It is obvious then that blocking the melatonin suppressing wavelength of blue light should significantly reduce the melatonin suppressing effect of evening time exposure.
How to Effectively Block it
Fortunately there are a few possible remedies available. One is a software program that installs on your computer called f.lux. Effectively it adjusts the wavelengths of light emitted by computer screens depending on the time of day, reducing the blue light emissions as night falls.
Another less high tech remedy is to simply use amber-lensed glasses once the sun has gone down. They can be bought cheaply online.These type of glasses can be very effective in reducing the effects of blue light exposure. In most cases they can completely eliminate the blue wavelength radiation. Our recommendation is to purchase wrap around frames to stop peripheral light entering the retina.