Blue light exposure, and the possible dangers surrounding it, has been a topic widely circulated over the past few years, especially with the dramatic increase in smart phone users.
So, what is blue light, and could it be damaging our sleep?
Blue light is a form of LED light which is usually transmitted from common house hold technologies, such as televisions, lap tops and smartphones.
Exposure to natural forms of light throughout the day has been shown to be incredibly beneficial to mood, health, vitamin D production and a healthy sleep.
Exposure to light in the day can also suppress the sleep causing hormone melatonin- a reduction is light in the evening leads to an increase in this hormone, which then proceeds to cause drowsiness.
However, not only can blue light exposure occur late into the evening, it can also suppress melatonin at a much stronger rate than natural sunlight.
Studies have shown that blue light exposure in the evening before bed can shift circadian rhythms drastically- leading to a disrupted sleep.
Studies show that the average sleep time has decreased significantly over the past two decades, particularly in teens.
Often, an avalanche affect occurs, where teens are over exposed to blue light, sleeping less, and hence suffering with low mood, low energy and an over reliance on caffeinated drinks.
So, what you can do to combat blue light exposure?
Here are a few tips and tricks to consider.
- Work on limiting exposure to blue light in the evening.
For many, this can understandably be challenging. Many of us watch screens in the evening to relax and switch off our minds after work, so cutting out that altogether is tricky.
Start slowly, reducing blue light exposure throughout the evening, and stop blue light exposure at least one hour before bed. When you feel ready to decrease blue light exposure further- go from there.
- Install a blue light blocking app.
If you need to be exposed to blue light during the evening, for example, you might work night shifts- a simple way to avoid over exposure is to download a free blue light blocking app onto your devices, to sleep more soundly during the day.
- Try using dim red lights in the evening.
Avoid having LED lights in your place of sleep. Dim red lights have the lowest form of light exposure, meaning they can help to aid your sleep.
- Soak up that sunlight!
Soaking up as much sunlight during the daytime as you can will help to reset your circadian rhythms, meaning that a small amount of blue light exposure come evening time will not be able to upset the balance!